Lake Forest Strike: School open Monday as strike continues

September 16, 2012 (LAKE FOREST, Ill.)

The north suburban school will use administrators, substitute teachers and nearly 60 community volunteers to lead what school officials promise will be a day of educational activities.

"These are lectures and interactive sessions that will cover all the key content areas of science, math and English," School District 115 board president Sharon Golan said. She said similar, non-mandatory, sessions last week attracted 300-500 students. Monday is a required attendance day for the school's 1,700 students, according to Golan.

Negotiations were set to resume Monday morning.

The average Lake Forest High School teacher salary is $100,000, according to school officials. The current dispute centers on pay and benefits. The school board is offering a 2.6-percent raise in the first year and a 3.4-percent increase in the second year. The school board president said the union is demanding raises of 5.6 percent and 6.5 percent. A union spokesman said last week that teachers are concerned about a two-tier salary system that starts new teachers at a lower pay scale.

Some of the school's 1,700 students are not sure what to expect.

"Makes things tough trying to keep up with the curriculum and tests and what-not," said student William Gregg. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow."

"My main focus is to just get back in school and get back to work," student Caroline Asmussen said.

The Lake Forest High School district is not budging. School leaders say they plan to require students to continue coming to class indefinitely.

"We're offering what we can pay," Golan said. "It's competitive in our area, competitive for schools at our level and there is no more. It's all we've got."

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