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Teachers Will Vote On Contract Next Week

The District 65 Educator’s Council will vote on a tentative contract agreement next week. School district officials and representatives of the union have been negotiating since March.

Members of the District 65 teachers’ union will vote next week on the tentative contract that union representatives and district officials . 

Details of the contract will be shared with the District 65 Educator’s Council (DEC) on Thursday, Aug. 30, the first day of work for teachers, according to a press release from union president Jean Luft. Teachers will vote by secret ballot the week school begins.

“The District 65 teachers are eager to begin a successful school year with the students on Sept. 4,” Luft said in the release. 

Teachers and the administration have been , and both parties agreed to bring in a federal mediator in August. After five sessions with the mediator, they reached agreement at 4 a.m. Monday, according to Luft. 

At issue was , which would leave nine vacancies or retirements unfilled, reassign 22.5 positions and eliminate 4.5 temporary positions and two fine arts teachers. Board members at a meeting last week; a final vote is scheduled for Sept. 24. 

The district is already sharing some art and music teachers among schools, but the proposed cuts would mean that every art teacher travels to a different school at least once a week. Each art teacher would have seven 40-minute classes per day, instead of six, meaning students would have the same amount of time with teachers, but teachers would have shorter planning periods.  

District officials to balance the budget, while members of the teachers’ union and their supporters have of the benefits of seeing the same arts instructor through the years. Luft told Patch earlier this year that she believed the district could find other, less impactful ways to cut its budget.

She praised the new contract as a satisfactory compromise, however.

“DEC is pleased that the new agreement improves several areas of the District 65 learning and working environment and also provides avenues for making future improvements in additional areas,” Luft said in the release.   

School board president Katie Bailey and Supt. Hardy Murphy both said they, too, were pleased with the compromise. Murphy called it “ fair to our teachers, fair to our community, and fair to our students.”

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