As a possible strike looms for District 300, its teacher's union will host an informational meeting tonight to inform and answer questions regarding ongoing contract negotiations.
The meeting will be held at the public safety building, 100 Carrington Drive in West Dundee, at 7 p.m., according to the ADVANCE 300 Facebook page.
"Teachers will be there to answer questions as best they can on issues surrounding the ongoing contract negotiations," according to the Facebook page. "Members of the teachers’ bargaining team will also be in attendance."
The earliest teachers could strike is this Tuesday. On Nov. 20, teachers filed a "notice of intent to strike" but that does not necessarily mean they will strike.
District 300 and LEAD 300 representatives met on Tuesday during their most recent bargaining session where many of the same sticking points were brought to the table, including compensation and class size, said LEAD 300 president Kolleen Hanetho. The bargaining teams will meet again tonight.
While the union and district are close to reaching a consensus on salaries, the parties remain torn on class size issues, she said.
In its final offers to LEAD 300, District 300 provided cap sizes at the elementary level but did not address class sizes for middle and high school classrooms, Hanetho said.
“We have some high school classrooms with 40 to 45 students and then another classroom with 20 students...it could be the same exact subject,” Hanetho said. “That is not fair.”
Hanetho said cap sizes for classrooms is needed at the middle school and high school level as well.
"They want to measure it on average classroom size ... our proposal has said all along that we need to set caps for classrooms for the high school level," she said.
Under District 300's final offer submitted earlier this month, the maximum limit in kindergarten classrooms would change from the current cap of 32 students to a cap of 28 students. For second and first grades that cap would decrease from the current max of 34 students to 28 students. And for third through fifth grade classrooms, the maximum would change from a 36-student maximum to a 31-student cap.
- READ MORE: District 300's Final Offers to LEAD 300
Following tonight's bargaining session, LEAD 300's members will meet Sunday. Hanetho said she is hopeful she will have a tentative agreement to present. If not, they could decide at that time to strike — and then set a date for a strike — or to continue with negotiations.
"I hope we can come to an agreement," she said. " But we are willing to strike to get an appropriate classroom environment for these children … and get the focus back on the quality of education."
Meanwhile, District 300 has begun to map out child care plans for parents if District 300 teachers do go on strike next week.
The district has set up three emergency attendance centers that would be available as emergency daycare for students in kindergarten through sixth grade if a strike does occur, according to a rapid communication message from Superintendent Michael Bregy sent out to parents over Thanksgiving weekend.
The centers will be set up at Carpentersville Middle School, Dundee Middle School and Hampshire Middle School. Daycare would be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Parents interested in bringing their children to the centers must register by 3 p.m. today by dropping off a registration form at District 300's administration building in Carpentersville. More information and a registration form is available on District 300's website.
The village of Lake in the Hills is also offering daycare in the case of a strike. The daycare will be available from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at village hall, 600 Harvest Gate, and the cost is $25 per day for LITH residents and $30 per day for non-residents for your first child. The second child will be $22.50 per day for residents and $27 for non-residents.
Those interested in LITH daycare can call 847-960-7460 for more information or to register.
If a strike date is set, parents will be notified through a rapid communication message, and updates will be posted on the District 300 website. All school buildings, activities and events would be closed in the case of a strike.
There are 20,856 students in District 300 and 1,253 teachers.