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The collective bargaining agreement between the District 65 School Board and the District Educators Council (DEC, the teachers union at School District 65) expires in August 2012. The parties have not yet negotiated a new contract.

On May 24, the District Educators Council (DEC, the teachers union at School District 65) advised the RoundTable that while DEC hopes it will reach an amicable collective bargaining agreement with the School Board, DEC’s leadership has been authorized to take steps necessary for a potential strike. DEC issued the following statement:

“The D65 School Board has made unexpected announcements about program reductions and other changes for the next school year. These changes naturally impact the education of Evanston/Skokie children and the workloads of our teachers. Tuesday, May 22, was the last DEC membership meeting of the year and we have no tentative agreement. Therefore, the DEC leadership was authorized, by a unanimous vote, to take the steps necessary for a potential strike. It is our greatest hope that we will reach an amicable agreement with the School Board that serves the best interests of teaching and learning.”

Katie Bailey, president of the District 65 School Board, provided the RoundTable with the following response to DEC’s statement:

“In spite of DEC’s recent vote to authorize the steps necessary to strike, the Board remains committed to reach an agreement that is fair and that allows us to maintain high quality educational programs and services for our students. We are willing to negotiate throughout the summer to achieve this result.   As a Board member and as a parent, I am disappointed in the vote at a time when the negotiation process is far from over.    

“As much as the Board values our teachers, both the Board and DEC need to recognize that in these tough economic times the Board must make difficult decisions in order to be fiscally responsible and to devote its finite resources in a manner that maximizes student instruction for the long term. This Board is committed to work to improve the educational opportunities for our students while we work to ensure the long term financial health of our district.

“We thank the teachers for their commitment to our students and the community for its support.”