Waukegan teachers union, school board negotiate as strike looms

WLS logo
Thursday, October 2, 2014
EMBED <>More Videos

Negotiations between the Waukegan teachers union and school district 60 will go late Wednesday night as the threat of a strike Thursday morning looms.

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (WLS) -- Negotiations continue late into Wednesday night at the Lake County Federation of Teachers as concern ripples through the community that teachers could strike on Thursday morning. School district 60 serves about 17,000 students.

As in most negotiations between school board and teacher unions, the issues boil down to salary, healthcare services and working conditions.

The teachers say they want to make up for having taken modest salary increases through the Great Recession. They say a surplus in the school district budget justifies asking for salary increases of 9 percent, 7 percent and 7 percent over the next three years. The district says it is offering an increase of about the cost-of-living, which they maintain is generous considering how the property values that underpin school taxes have plummeted around here in the last six years.

Both sides are working with a federal mediator Wednesday night to reach an agreement.

The heavy lifting for parents in Waukegan school district 60 begins Wednesday night as plans must be made for the possibility of no school Thursday.

At the Hinkston Park Fieldhouse in Waukegan, they're preparing for an onslaught of youngsters. The Waukegan Park District is prepared to help families with child care needs and will offer programs when school is not in session, Monday through Friday.

The Park District says the Field House will also be open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and offering open gym activities and the fitness center. Open gym participants must be at least 11-year-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 to accommodate working parents.

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

For more information about the potential strike, parents can visit the School District 60 website.