There will be no school again Thursday for students in Prospect Heights District 23, as teachers continue their strike over pay.
The strike cancels classes for more than a 1,500 students and 150 teachers at four schools in the district.
More than six hours of negotiations broke off at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday when teachers announced their first ever strike, and classes that day were subsequently canceled.
The district is offering a 3.25 percent pay hike for the first two years and a 3 percent pay hike for the third year for teachers earning less than $90,000 per year. The teachers union a 4.5 percent increase for the first two years and a 4.25 percent increase for the third year. As of Wednesday afternoon, both sides had not budged.
Prospect Heights Teachers Warn of Strike Amid Salary Negotiations
The Board says most teachers make between $41,000 and $65,000 a year. District 23 claims they're the lowest paid in the area.
“We are waiting for the union to get back in touch with us and we have asked them to notify us when they are ready to have a proposal that does not have a salary schedule in it,” said Board of Education president Mari-Lynn Peters.
Bob Miller, of the Prospect Heights Education Association, said 3 percent is not enough to keep the professionals the district already has. Further talks had not yet been scheduled as of Wednesday, however.
“If we can't meet or don't meet, it puts us at a two-day strike minimum,” Miller said. “Which then affects kids who are out for a two-day minimum. One day is too long as it is.”
Both the Teachers Union and the District 23 Board of Education say they are disappointed no resolution has been reached.
Both sides have been trying to negotiate a new contract since March and even with the help of a federal mediator Tuesday night, they could not reach an agreement.
“Obviously, I'm upset,” said one parent, Barb Whiteside. “I have two children at MacArthur Middle School and I think ultimately it's the children who are losing out on this.”