From Grayslake Patch:
Grayslake School District 46 teachers, who went on strike Wednesday, agreed to accept a mediator's proposal at Tuesday's eleventh hour contract negotiation session, said Jim Pergander, business agent for Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504.
"The union agreed to the mediator's proposal. The (school) board said no in the end."
Tuesday's session between the District 46 Board of Education and teachers' union last nearly eight hours. Anxious parents and community members waited until almost midnight for word on whether the strike would happen.
Parents received an automated phone call from the district, which also posted an update on its Website.
Pergander said both sides agreed not to divulge details of the mediator's proposal, but it was a two-year proposal that was "pretty middle of the road" and similar to the last proposal made on Nov. 28.
At that session, the school board agreed to a two-year teacher contract, but held firm on instituting a salary freeze with no step or lane changes. The board offered to give all certified staff who have not submitted a notice to retire a $1,000 stipend in year two, which would cost the district about $300,000.
The union, which had initially proposed a 3 percent salary increase for both contract years, agreed to continue working at their current 2011-12 salary schedule for next school year, but they asked for lane change compensation paid in February 2013, which would cost $200,000, and two salary steps scheduled for Sept. 2013 and March 2014, which would cost $750,000, according to the district.
The mediator's proposal on Tuesday was similar to the Nov. 28 proposal but called for a give and take from each side, said Pergander.
"The mediator told both sides there would be some hurt. He did the Solomon thing and cut it down the middle."
Pergander said the union was agreeable to the new proposal, which still called for teachers to continue working at their current salaries for the next school year, but with the second year's salary step compensation being modified from the Nov. 28 proposal.
"It was an amount less than what we were requesting, but more than the district was offering."
Pergander said the union thought the proposal was acceptable.
"We said let's go with it and keep school in session. We said we'll take it," but the board would not agree to it.
Patch has reached out to District 46 Board President Ray Millington for comment.
Pergander said the mediator told both sides he would get in touch with them before the weekend to schedule another negotiating session.
Check back with Patch for the latest strike updates.
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