Impasse was declared today by the teachers in an effort to end their ongoing contract negotiations and arrive at an agreement with the , according to Lake Forest Education Association (LEEA) teachers’ union President Richard Moore.
Though the members of the LFEA want to start the school year with a new contract and without the pressure of ongoing talks, today’s move clears the way for a strike as early as Sept. 10. Representatives of both sides hold their next negotiation session August 23.
“I’m a teacher. I just want to teach,” Moore said. “I left the business world because I want to help raise the next generation.” He wants a contract sooner rather than later so the teachers can concentrate on educating “It has to be fair and equitable,” he added.
With impasse declared both the union and the Board must exchange their final offers by August 17 and their positions must be disclosed to the public by Sept. 24. After that, no further action can be taken before Sept. 7.
No strike can occur until 10 days after the LFEA declares a notice of intent to strike. It has not done that yet but can do so at any time meaning the teachers could be out of their classrooms Sept. 10.
According to Moore, the primary purpose behind declaring an impasse is to assure the public the positions of both the teachers and the Board will be before the public so the entire community understands the differences.
“We hope this will speed up the process and encourage everyone to come to the table,” Moore said. “We want a contract because it removes the pain and gives us stability. It also commits us to our (teaching) responsibilities without a painful process.”
Board Vice President Jim Carey agrees with Moore’s desire to accelerate the process. He too wants to see a reasonable agreement that is fiscally responsible.
“The Board of Education welcomes the opportunity to present its final and best offer by Friday August 17,” Carey said. “The Board will continue to work hard to achieve a settlement that balances its educational and financial commitments to the community with a salary schedule that is competitive with similar school districts.”
. In the last 35 years, the LFEA has negotiated between seven and 10 contracts with the Board and all but one have not been inked without a declaration of impasse, according to Moore.
Late last year, the teachers declared an impasse and in less than two weeks they agreed to a one-year deal with the Board with a pay freeze. That agreement expired June 30.