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PHOTOS: District 65 Teachers Protest Arts Cuts

Members of the District 65 teachers' union and their supporters marched down Church Street, calling for a "fair contract" and protesting proposed arts cuts.

"What do we want?" yelled one teacher with a bullhorn.

"A fair contract!" responded the crowd outside the administration building.

As between the teachers' union and district officials, union members came out in force to protest proposed arts cuts before Monday night's school board meeting.

District 65 Educator's Council (DEC) president Jean Luft said the group had voted earlier this summer to authorize leadership to put in motion the actions needed to strike. But that's a situation they're hoping to avoid, she said.

"We're trying very hard not to have it come to a strike," Luft told Patch.

District officials and union representatives have been discussing a new contract for teachers since March. In June, they agreed to bring in a federal mediator; meetings with began the mediator Aug. 8.

Board president Katie Bailey responded to the protestors in a prepared statement at the beginning of the meeting.

"We are willing to negotiate and have over the last five months," she said. "We remain fully committed to working with the DEC and the federal mediator to find a common ground."

Board members were expected to vote on a motion to adopt the district's tentative 2012-13 budget, which includes a five percent reduction in expenditures, later at Monday night's meeting.

Richard Schulte August 21, 2012 at 02:36 PM
It's time to replace the public school system with a voucher system for private education. I've had enough of listening to public school teachers' whine. The teachers should have learned from what happened in Wisconsin that the public no longer support them.
R. Campbell August 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I'm afraid you'll have to speak for yourself, Mr. Schulte. If you've been keeping track of this story, you'll know that for the past 5 months, a large, vocal group of hundreds of parents and students in D65 have come out in full support of our excellent teachers and the need for high-quality education. Let me state this simply: You canNOT take money away from public schools and expect them to compete with privates. By the way, it's NOT about the money. The D65 Board just approved a budget that contains a 1.5$ million surplus for the coming school year- more than enough to restore art and music to last year's levels at all schools. And then they hire outside groups to come and do arts enrichment because they're cutting their teachers to save money. We need to help set the Superintendent and the Board on the right path to securing high-quality education in Evanston and INVEST in our teachers and their time. I am thankful for all the supportive community members and Arts leaders who understand the importance of art music and PE in our children's education who are coming together to form the Arts Leadership Team of Evanston. If we all gave up, as I'm afraid you have, then where would we be? R. Campbell, D65 Alum and Supportive Parent

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