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D-300, union may ratify contract this week

CARPENTERSVILLE – District 300 union leaders will reveal to teachers for the first time during a meeting today the details of the tentative contract that ended a one-day labor strike earlier this month.

The meeting allows LEAD 300 leaders to brief their 1,300 members on the proposed, three-year deal before teachers vote Wednesday to ratify the agreement. The vote will last throughout the day at the district’s 26 schools.

If teachers endorse the deal, the district board is looking at a Thursday special session to vote on the agreement and put to rest nearly a yearlong negotiation that led to the district’s first work stoppage in 40 years.

“[Today] will be the first time they get all the information,” LEAD 300 President Kolleen Hanetho said. “We aren’t going to have a debate. We are just presenting the information and answering any questions they have on it.”

Teachers will gather at 4:30 p.m. at Hampshire High School for the briefing. For Wednesday’s vote, LEAD needs a simple majority of voting members to ratify the undisclosed, three-year deal.

Both sides have said the contract terms will not be revealed to the public until the agreement is fully ratified. Negotiators from both parties have spent the week finalizing the contract language and ensuring the verbiage accurately reflects the agreement.

The often bruising negotiations revolved around smaller class sizes at the district and how to pay for them.

Teachers, donning black and white and clenching signs, walked the picket lines Dec. 4, the earliest they were allowed to strike. Both sides failed a day earlier to come to an agreement, but quickly rebounded, agreeing to a tentative deal during the evening hours of the strike.

The strike lasted one day. Before the stoppage, the final proposals from the union and district showed the two sides were off by 1 percentage point on salary increases and roughly two and three students apart on classroom caps in the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Board member Joe Stevens, who has been the district’s spokesman on negotiations, said members are still coordinating schedules for the week before they finalize the Thursday special session.

“We haven’t posted, as we’re still checking everyone’s schedules,” Stevens said.

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