No Talks Scheduled in Evergreen Park Teacher Strike

More than 1,800 students are affected by the strike

Evergreen Park students will be out of class for a second day Wednesday as teachers in the south suburb continue their strike.

Teachers took to the picket lines Tuesday morning after contract talks broke down late Monday.

The union president said the teachers' negotiators rejected the latest offer from the school board, and about 150 teachers and 60 support staff employees voted to strike after more than five months of negotiations. More than 1,800 students are affected by the strike.

"The one thing that we want to make sure parents understand is that last night the board of education was clear to teachers that they were willing to give up tax payer dollars to keep kids out of school," said union spokesman Dave Comerford.

Comerford said major issues the two sides remain split on include health insurance, retirement benefits and a proposal to link salary increases to student performance.

"It's gonna take them coming to their senses, realizing that they've got a darn good staff here and if they want to keep us they need to step up," one picketing teacher told NBC Chicago.

"Their whole point is children first. We are here for our children, and they're not," said teacher Eileen Foley.

The district released a statement saying the board is "still willing to meet with the union to continue talks, they were willing to stay last night and to schedule additional meetings through our federal mediators. The union chose neither of these options."

"It's gonna take two sides to work this out," Comerford said, "and it was clear last night that there's one side that really was not interested in this at all."

According to the district's superintendent, the board's proposal includes increases in teacher salaries, insurance and retirement benefits. Both sides are about $2 million apart for a three-month contract.

The board's current proposal expires Friday, and no negotiating sessions were scheduled as of Tuesday afternoon.

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