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On Nov. 21, the District 65 School Board and District 65 Educators’ Council issued a joint statement that they reached a tentative agreement on a new teachers’ contract. The statement said, “This represents nine months of hard work by both teams. After more than 34 hours of marathon bargaining over the past several days, an agreement was reached at around 4 a.m. this morning.

“The tentative agreement will be presented and voted on by the DEC membership next week and, upon ratification, will be placed on the agenda for approval by the School Board at their December 5, 2016, Working Board/Finance Committee Meeting. Out of continued respect for the process, details regarding contract terms will be made public following ratification by DEC membership and approval of the School Board.

“We would like to recognize the members of both bargaining teams for their ability to collaborate, compromise, and work through the issues that remained on the table. We have a shared commitment to moving our district forward with both sides approaching negotiations with the best interest of our children in mind. As we have both expressed during this process, our teachers’ working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. We feel that the agreement reflects the needs expressed by our teachers and will continue to foster high quality teaching and learning in our schools.”

In a separate letter to parents, Candance Chow, President of the School Board, and Paul Goren, Superintendent of District 65, said the term of the tentative agreement was three years, and that in light of the tentative agreement “the likelihood of a teachers’ strike has significantly diminished and we do not anticipate any disruption to our students’ learning.” 

Their letter continues, “What resulted from many hours of thoughtful discussion is an agreement that reflects a shared commitment to supporting high quality teaching and learning and fair, competitive compensation that both honors our teachers and takes into account the District’s financial outlook. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the bargaining team members for their participation and dedication to the process.

“We are extremely grateful for the hundreds of teachers across our district who have devoted their lives to educating our children. There truly is no substitute for a great teacher and we are fortunate to have so many who call District 65 home.”

Paula Zelinski, President of DEC, told the RoundTable that she made a presentation on Nov. 28 to DEC members about the tentative agreement and that a vote will be taken tomorrow, Dec. 2.

The RoundTable will post the results on its website, evanstonroundtable.com.