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Teachers’ Union is ‘Optimistic’ Contract Will Pass

Members of the District 65 Educator’s Council (DEC) will vote on a tentative contract this Friday, Sept. 7. The administration and the union have been negotiating since March.

Union president Jean Luft said she is “optimistic” that a tentative contract agreement will be ratified by the teachers’ union during a vote this Friday. 

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 at 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 27. 

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.

Both Luft and District 65 Supt. Hardy Murphy have praised the agreement as a satisfactory compromise. 

Details of the contract were shared with the District 65 Educator’s Council (DEC), the teachers’ union, on Thursday, Aug. 30, the first day of work for teachers. Teachers will vote by secret ballot sometime on Friday, Sept. 7. Luft said the results would be tallied Friday evening. 

If the teachers’ union approves the contract, it will then go before the school board for a vote.

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