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District 65 School Board Secretary, Pat Markham, issued the following statement on July 19 announcing that District 65 and the District Educators Council (DEC, the teachers’ union) have agreed to use a mediator to assist them in their contract negotiations: 

“As we approach mid-summer, and attentions begin to move toward the beginning of a new school year, this statement is to update our community about the pending contract negotiations with the District Educators’ Council (DEC) on behalf of District 65’s teachers. Negotiations began with DEC back in March. Over the spring and early summer, a schedule of negotiation dates was set, including meetings in July and August.  Even though two scheduled July dates were canceled by DEC, several August dates remain scheduled, and we are committed to working toward completing negotiations for opening the 2012-13 school year.   

“Up to this time, we have had some productive meetings, and tentative agreement has been reached on several points.  However, out of respect to the negotiations process, we will not go into the details about what has been tentatively agreed, discussed, or what remains as part of our ongoing conversations. What we can say is that we are having constructive discussions about some of the very challenging issues faced in these difficult economic times.   

“Both teams in the negotiations have agreed to use the assistance of a mediator. A mediator is an impartial third party who can help guide the negotiations process to resolution on issues presented.  In closing, District 65 appreciates the excellent work our teachers perform and remains committed to them and to a process that achieves a contract that is fair and financially responsible.”