Wildcat Chronicle

Board of Education satisfied with tentative agreement with Teachers’ Association

Association+members%2C+students%2C+and+community+members+cheer+as+the+bargaining+team+enters+the+district+office+on+Feb.+15.+
Association members, students, and community members cheer as the bargaining team enters the district office on Feb. 15.

Association members, students, and community members cheer as the bargaining team enters the district office on Feb. 15.

Photo by Mayeli Vivaldo

Photo by Mayeli Vivaldo

Association members, students, and community members cheer as the bargaining team enters the district office on Feb. 15.

By Mayeli Vivaldo, Editor in chief

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The Board of Education expressed relief after a tentative settlement was reached on Feb. 15.

The West Chicago Teachers’ Association and board had been negotiating teacher contracts since April 2016.

During the bargaining meeting, an agreement was settled.

The Association had voted to strike on Friday if no settlement was reached at the meeting.

“I don’t think anybody wanted a strike. We’re very pleased that, that’s (negotiations) completed now and that we can turn our attention back to our students, full-time,” president of the board Gary Saake said.

The negotiations meeting ran from 4:30 to 10 p.m.

“There was a lot of ground to cover. We were still pretty far apart. They (bargaining teams) worked hard at it,” Saake said. “I’m grateful for the negotiators on both sides.”

The board and Association still need to go over the agreement and ratify it.

“Typically what happens is there’s usually some language that needs to be cleaned up. They (bargaining teams) want to go through and clarify some things and finalize it,” Saake said.

A ratification date has not been officially set.

Although a settlement was reached, the board wishes it had been done in a different manner.

“Everything is a little too fresh right now to really sit down and evaluate everything, but clearly this is not the way it should be happening,” Saake said. “I don’t think this is good for anybody. It’s not good for the district, the faculty, and it’s certainly not good for the students.”

The board hopes that for future negotiations, the board and Association will find better ways to bargain and negotiate.

“I think we need to give it a little bit of room and let everybody take a deep breath and then come back and sit down and talk through, both sides, (about) where the issues where in terms of why it turned into what it did and see if we can figure out a better way to communicate in the future during bargaining,” Saake said. “I would hope both sides would be open to having that discussion. In a month or so, it would be time to sit down and talk and see how we can work better together.”

Regardless, the board believes the tentative agreement was a fair settlement.

“Both sides ended up giving a little. There are things that we really wanted that we didn’t get and there are things that they really wanted that they didn’t get,” Saake said. “That’s the nature of negotiation, that’s not unusual. I think it’s (settlement)  fair to everyone, the faculty, the district, the taxpayer, and most of all, I think it’s fair to the students.”

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Board of Education satisfied with tentative agreement with Teachers’ Association