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District 300 teachers declare strike

CARPENTERSVILLE – Leaders from both sides in District 300 ‘s teacher negotiations had differing initial reactions, following the union’s decision to strike for the first time since 1972.

LEAD 300 President Kolleen Hanetho said the district board didn’t come down far enough on class sizes, after offering annual salary increases of 2 and 3 percent in the next three years.

She said the union would have agreed to the salary figures, if the board would lower elementary class sizes to 25 and 26. The most recent proposal capped those classes at 28 and 31.

“They have made some movement, but it’s not enough in class sizes, and they made no movement in salaries at all,” Hanetho said.

In a message that was sent out to district parents, Board member Joe Stevens said the district board agreed to LEAD’s plan to reduce class sizes and create caps at the middle and high school levels for the first time.

But, he said, the two couldn’t agree on salaries, after the union countered for higher salaries in exchange for lower class sizes.

“At this point, the board has met LEAD’s expectations regarding class sizes, but we have not reached agreement on salaries,” Stevens said in a statement.

The dueling explanations underscore the ongoing conflict between both sides over compensation and class sizes. Union leaders have said they would accept the board’s most recent salary proposal, in exchange for lower class sizes, or accept slightly higher class sizes for more compensation.

The board has said they can’t afford to lower class sizes and give more in annual salary increases.

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