Teachers in north suburban Grayslake to strike Thursday after failing to reach deal with district

GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Teachers in north suburban Grayslake will go on strike Thursday after failing to reach an agreement with the school district.

The Grayslake Federation of Teachers and the Grayslake Federation of Paraprofessionals and Support Staff will take to the picket lines Thursday, starting at 7:30 a.m.

The union said the decision comes after nine months of bargaining with no agreement on wages.

"We don't work in public education to get rich," said Leah Brown, president of the Grayslake Federation of Paraprofessionals and Support Staff. "We just want a fair wage so our members can afford to live where they work."

Teachers put on a show of unity ahead of the board of education meeting Wednesday night in Grayslake.

"I hate not being in the classroom," said Jason White, middle school teacher. "I actually spoke with my kids today and told them if it was our choice we would be in the classroom with them."

Union officials said they agreed to a four-year contract in 2017 with the understanding that they'd negotiate financial terms for the last two years, considering district finances. The union claims that the district is offering less than they did in 2017, despite an improvement in those finances.

The district said that the Board of Education significantly increased its offer, providing a 3.8% raise to teachers with between 1-18 years of experience and a 3% raise to teachers with more than 18 years of experience. Support staff were offered a 3.8% increase annually for the contract's remaining two years.

"The goal of this board has always been to provide teachers and support staff with fair and reasonable raises," said District 46 Board President Jim Weidman.

"We started negotiating in January and yesterday was the first time that we saw that they were serious about taking care of their teachers. So that's hopeful," said Michele Beye, president of the Grayslake Federation of Teachers.

The district said in a statement that the unions didn't provide a counter offer, and instead decided to strike.

"We are deeply disappointed," the district said.

The last teachers strike in Grayslake was in 2013 and lasted a few days.

During the strike, all District 46 schools will cancel classes, extra-curricular activities and programs held before or after school.

The district has compiled a list of child care facilities with possible openings for families during the strike:

4 Kids:
61 Center St.
Grayslake, IL 60030
847-548-4386

First Steps Nursery School:
2163 Illinois 83,
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
847-223-1299

Kindercare:

1512 N. Rt. 83
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
847-543-7910
Peppermint Stick:
40 S. Whitney St.
Grayslake, IL 60030
847-223-0611

Prime Time Daycare:
1838 E. Belvidere Rd.
Grayslake, IL 60030
847-548-3455

La Petite Academy:
2518 Rte. 83
Round Lake Beach, IL 60073
847-265-9744

Round Lake Park District:
814 Hart Rd.
Round Lake, IL 60073
847-546-8558

Circus Kazoo:
100 S Atkinson Rd,

Grayslake, IL 60030
847-986-5615
For families that receive free or reduced-fee breakfast and lunch at school, the district provided a list of local food banks to access food:

Lord of Glory Food Pantry:
607 W. Belvidere Road
Grayslake IL 60030
847-548-5673

Avon Community Food Pantry:
433 E. Washington Street
Round Lake Park IL 60073
224-338-9950

Wildwood Presbyterian Church:
18630 West Old Gages Lake Road
Grayslake IL 60030
847-223-0073

Calvary Community Care Food Pantry:
1221 W. Maple Avenue
c/o Gracepointe Church
Mundelein IL 60060
847-566-6650

For updates, students and families are encouraged to check the district's website: http://www.d46.org/
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.