With the opening of school August 27, the teachers remain without a contract with both the educators and the administration claiming issues of compensation and benefits remain to be resolved.
The District 115 Board of Education and the Lake Forest Educators Association (LFEA) did not reach an agreement Thursday when they met with a mediator in an attempt to resolve their differences, according to both Board President and LFEA spokesperson .
“The mediation session did not produce an agreement and we do not have a date yet for another,” Golan said. The dispute has been going on a year. The parties could not agree on a long term contract last year and settled for a one-year pact.
“We presented a multiyear deal but the union chose a one-year contract,” Golan said. The parties agreed to a wage freeze at that time as well as a freeze in steps, according to Gress. His group wants to do something about the steps in the contract which reward a teacher for years of service.
“It has a huge, huge impact,” Gress said of the steps. “The trickle down calculations can effect increases for years.” He is hopeful the current mediation will produce a deal. “We’re starting over with a new team. New faces have a fresh look.”
Though the union membership voted 104-3 to authorize their leaders to declare a strike, no work stoppage can occur until at least 28 days after the declaration of an impasse by the teachers, according to Illinois Education Association staff member Mark Stein. No impasse has been declared.
Both the Board and the union remain committed to the students and greater Lake Forest community. In a letter to the community, the Board acknowledged the educators effect on the city.
“The contributions of our professional staff to the quality of educati0n of our students are substantial,” the letter said. “The contract that recently expired acknowledged the teachers’ continuing commitment to our students in the light of the financial constraints of the Board.”