Waukegan schools closed for 8th day as teachers strike continues

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ByEric Horng via WLS logo
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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Efforts to end a teachers' strike in north suburban Waukegan failed Tuesday night, and classes are canceled for the eighth day.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- Efforts to end a teachers' strike in north suburban Waukegan failed Tuesday night, and classes are canceled for the eighth day.

There was a school board meeting Tuesday night, the first since the strike began, and teachers and parents did not hold back. In anticipation of a large crowd, the meeting was moved to an auditorium where the fireworks started immediately.

"We are here for our students. But there comes a time when we are also here for our dignity!" said Deb Navarro, a Waukegan teacher.

Before the meeting, teachers gathered in the rain in a show of solidarity on day 13 of their strike. The key sticking point: raises.

"The 9 percent was a starting point, just as the 1 percent was their starting point. Both sides have made progress towards the middle," said Kathy Schwarz, president of the Waukegan Teachers Union.

"Both parties have committed to go back into negotiations following this board meeting tonight, so there is movement that is happening," said Dep. Supt. Mary Lamping, Waukegan School District 60.

Since October 2, 17,000 students have been out of class, and many attended this meeting.

"If you say that you care about the students, then why not invest in us?" said Jonathan Rivas, Waukegan 4th grader.

"You've managed to bring this community together like I've not seen in years," said Ray Vuckovich, a Waukegan resident.

Talks began at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and continued late into the night, but parents have already been told school is canceled for Wednesday.