Over 20,000 District 300 students and 1,300 teachers will return to school Wednesday following a one-day strike.
The strike ended after LEAD 300 and District 300 officials reached a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract late Tuesday night. The agreement still needs to be ratified by LEAD 300 and accepted by the District 300 School Board, which is not expected to happen before Dec. 18.
Details surrounding the agreement are not being released at this time.
"It was through the combined efforts of LEAD's leadership team and the board's leadership team that we are able to end the strike," said school board member Joe Stevens in a Tuesday night press release.
The agreement came after months of negotiations between LEAD 300, the district's teacher's union, and the district. The main sticking points in the days leading up to Tuesday's strike centered on teachers' pay and class sizes.
"We believe the agreement that was reached is fair to the teachers and responsible to the taxpayers of the community," according to a joint statement from School Board President Anne Miller and LEAD 300 spokesman Michael Williamson.
Hundreds of Teachers Head to Picket Line Tuesday
LEAD 300 members — approximately 1,300 — reported to the picket lines wearing black and white sweatshirts that read “We Lead 300” Tuesday morning after the union’s bargaining team and district officials could not reach a contract agreement Monday.
- READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: District 300 Strike
Around 150 teachers and students — mainly from Jacobs High School in Algonquin — marched with signs that read “Teachers on Strike” and “On Strike for a Fair Contract” near the northwest corner of the intersection of Randall Road and Bunker Hill Drive in Algonquin throughout the day Tuesday.
Jacobs High School freshman Gabe Rife and sophomore Kelly Durgan joined the crowds near Tuesday afternoon. Durgan held a sign that read “I think better in smaller classes.”
“We wanted to be a part of things and support our teachers,” Rife said, taking a break from walking.
Hundreds gathered outside District 300’s administrative building, 300 E. Cleveland Ave. in Carpentersville, throughout the day Tuesday. Motorists honked their support as they drove past the mass of people, television trucks and a few police cars station on the district’s property.
Picketers also gathered at Westfield Community School, 2100 Sleepy Hollow Drive, Tuesday morning and marched along Route 25 in Carpentersville.
LEAD 300, District Officials Meet Tuesday, Reach Agreement
At 3 p.m. Tuesday, the bargaining teams for LEAD 300 and District 300 officials went into a meeting at Westfield Community School. Hours later, District 300 announced a tentative agreement had been reached shortly after 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Going into the meeting, the district informed LEAD’s team that it will meet but “is not willing to change anything,” Williamson said Tuesday morning.
“We are willing to meet with them until 2 in the morning to get this done but in order to get it done, they need to move and they’ve known they need to move for 11 months,” he said.
The sticking points going into Tuesday’s meeting remained the same: lower class sizes and pay.
LEAD was looking for caps on class sizes and looking for an increase in the base pay for teachers. They hoped to cap class size at 30 students per classroom in high schools, 29 in middle schools and 25 in elementary schools, Williamson said.
The district was looking for slightly higher numbers — 32 students per classroom in the high schools, 33 students per classroom in middle schools and 31 students per classrooms in the elementary schools, he said.
“It’s not where we want it and they know that,” Williamson said, adding smaller classes help teachers pay more attention to students’ needs.
Both sides were close on salary increases on Monday when talks fell apart, he said.
Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Patch left messages with District 300 for comments on the ongoing negotiations, contract and strike on Monday and Tuesday. Those phone calls were not returned.