Waukegan District 60 teachers strike, schools closed

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- It could be some time before students in north suburban Waukegan return to the classroom.

Teachers in Waukegan Community School District 60 walk the picket line after efforts to avert a strike fail.

Negotiations between district officials and union leadership have been going on for months, but broke down overnight as both sides remain at odds over salary, health benefits and employee working conditions.

So far, here's what's on the bargaining table.

The union wants a 3-year contract with salary increases of 9 percent in the first year and 7 percent in the second and third years. Teacher health benefits contributions would say the same.

District 60 officials say the teachers' salary request is too high and that the board's offer is competitive with teachers in comparable districts. They're offering educators a 2-year contract with salary increases of 1.63 percent the first year and 1.5 percent the second year. Teachers would also be required to pay for some health care benefits that are currently provided at no cost to them.

The last time Waukegan teachers held a strike was 30 years ago. District officials say they're waiting for a more reasonable proposal from the union. And while negotiations could resume as early as this weekend, it seems most likely that they will resume on Monday.
CHILD CARE DURING THE STRIKE

Despite warnings of a possible teacher strike, some parents were caught off guard Thursday as they scrambled to figure out daycare for their children.

And with all Waukegan Community School District 60 schools closed, some of the roughly 17,000 students have no classes today and took advantage of free or low-cost programs offered by the Waukegan Park District.

The Waukegan Park District is offering child care from 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for $30 a day. The Boys and Girls Club is also offering programming for members on while school is not in session.

For more information, including fees, about the Waukegan Park District's programs, parents can visit www.waukeganparks.org.

The Hinkston Park Fieldhouse in Waukegan will offer open gym activities and use of the fitness center from 5 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open gym participants must be at least 11-years-old or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The We Have Off (W.H.O) program for ages 6 through 12 will also be held at the Belvidere Recreation Center, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Waukegan Public Library is also offering programs for students.
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