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Teachers' Strike Ends, Schools Reopen

The Highland Park elementary and middle school board and teachers' union reached a tentative agreement after negotiating for over 14 hours. District 112 classes are back in session.

Update 10/17/12 at 8:05 a.m.: The teachers' strike has ended. All District 112 schools are open.

The school board and teachers' union reached a tentative agreement early Wednesday morning, according to an email sent out by District 112 sent to residents at around 5:15 a.m.

The two sides began Tuesday's bargaining session at noon and negotiated for over 14 hours, according to a Tweet put out by the North Shore Educations Associations (NSEA).

"Going on 14 and 1/2 hours," the tweet read, "Still here."

Details about the agreement have not yet been revealed, but should be available soon, according to District 112 and the NSEA.

Earlier: Highland Park elementary and middle school teachers and children marched in front of a number of District 112 schools across Highland Park on Tuesday on the first day of the teachers' strike.

Meanwhile, the school board and teachers' union negotiated for over ten hours during a bargaining session that, as of reporting time, has not ended. As of midnight on Wednesday morning, no news of a settlement has yet been released.

District 112 Contract Negotiations: The Story So Far

"As of a few minutes after 10 p.m., the negotiations session that began at noon today is still continuing," District 112 Communications Specialist Andi Rosen said in an email to reporters. "Please continue to check the Negotiations Update page on our website for the latest news."

In addition to the contingency programming the district offered, the Park District, City of Highland Park and Highland Park Public Library were just a few of the governing bodies and community organizations to help parents in need of a place for their children since school was closed.

Congregation Solel, for example, invited children to offering children open "studio" time in the synagogue's art room.

If the strike continues on Wednesday, children are invited to help scoop pumpkins at the Highwood Public Works building from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. as the town tries for another year to break the record for the most lit Jack-o-lanterns.

For more updates about the strike and the negotiations, "like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Ed Brill October 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM
The strike appears to have ended in the early hours this morning and school is apparently in session.
Larry Jones October 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM
That is really great news after all of the negative comments here we see that the union and the board were able to work it out quickly. I am pround of our teachers but am also pround of the board if what Ed says is true!
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther October 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Congratulations to both groups for putting all the noise behind them and coming to a compromise. According to Pam Kramer, Union President it's a deal that neither side will "be happy with", which sounds like it's a fair one. Now perhaps they can work together to solve real issues, like how to deal with the buildings and why the district is so slow to innovate. Issues we are all stakeholders in.
Jack Straw October 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM
I have a very unhappy 10 year old. No not pro-union or pro-teacher just pro strike, had his whole day planed out:)
Samantha Stolberg October 17, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Now is the time to really look into District 112 with a fresh perspective. While the negative comments (towards both sides) on all of these Patch articles have been a microcosm of the sentiments held in the greater community, in reality, I witnessed tremendous acts of kindness, generosity, understanding and solidarity. I saw parents, regardless of their feelings towards the Union or it's strike, supporting their teachers. I saw agencies like the Park District, the City, places of worship, and activity centers step up to a challenging situation and rally around their neighbors. I saw residents having very real discourse about the future of the schools in Highland Park and Highwood despite their opposing views. There were great lessons learned here, and although we have yet to see the agreed upon terms of the new contract, all of us need to accept that this District must undergo a dramatic redesign in order to avoid this exact situation in 2-3 years when the teachers' contract is up again.
forest barbieri October 17, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Glad to see they could hug it out and yes, it is now time to work on the more global D112 issues going forward. After an evening soccer game and sleep over with friends, our student will be as tired as those involved in the negotiations that opened the schools today. At least the negotiation team does not have Tennis and Soccer practice tonight:)
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther October 17, 2012 at 02:58 PM
And you know that how? Many of them are parents as well.
Richard H Heineman Jr October 17, 2012 at 06:12 PM
One of the most important things to come out of this process is the knowledge that there is much to do in District 112. Let's get started.
m October 17, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I'm hoping that all the questions that arose during this time are not forgotten. For example, why are we paying Moshin Dada that kind of salary, benefits, and extra stipends? How about Dr. Behlow's? I am a taxpayer and feel that I should have a say in this. Will this be similar to th Park District scandal? Let's not let this go to the wayside!
David Greenberg October 17, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Now this I can agree with :-)
Larry Jones October 17, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Totally agree, now is the time to start
forest barbieri October 17, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Walter: Sorry if I did not articulate properly as I was on blogger strike for a day and may have thrown my rhythm off. Of course they do. However, my point was that she was up as late as them and she will PARTICIPATE in those training activities not just drive there or back.
forest barbieri October 17, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I agree! D112 BOE members, what is the plan? Do you have an overall strategic view to share? Advisory committee's in process? I volunteer in any capacity and no doubt, several other interested and most competent community members will be pleased to participate and help move us forward. Reach out, the community is waiting.
Alexa Martinez October 17, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Lets see how much it is going to cost us the end of the strike.
NS October 18, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Reading this article would be a good start: http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3749880
Bev October 18, 2012 at 03:18 AM
I am probably in the minority but I have to say that the school children have been held hostage by this and other school district strikes. If the pay was not high enough then why not look for a job with more pay in other districts or STRIKE during the summer when the children would not suffer. If one cared about the children then one would try to not affect their education. I am sure as I said I am in the minority but I am speaking the truth in love. Why hold children hostage in order to receive personal benefit - strike in the summer.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther October 18, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Bev: I think the answer to your question is in your statements. There is no leverage for anyone to strike in the summer, since no one would care. The better question is why wasn't this settled long before it got to this point? Both sides had the entire summer to negotiate and didn't. Certainly they could have squeezed in 14 hours of talk in even the last month, but didn't. Shame on them all. The other authors offer light on what should be the real issues now. What's the plan for the future? Does this Board have the political will to mke changes that, while unpopular, offer better fiscal and educational outcomes? WHat will they do now on their adminstrative costs? What will they do to recast the district as an educational innovator that leads?
Jack Straw October 18, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Actually Bev, your more in the majority than you might think. Many people on the north shore saw what happened and are not happy. Some of the Highland Park teachers were even up in Lake Forest on their line only a few weeks before. Only thing is we are here in the present, and the only things we can address are those subjects that we have direct control over. One thing is the need for a financial conservative slate for the next election, there is little one individual can do on a board such as this. A great many points have been made in the last few days concerning administrative cost, though some were fuel by the unions class warfare but nevertheless still good points.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther October 18, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Bev, the answer is in your point. There is no leverage in striking when there is no sense of urgency. The better question is why, if it took 14 hours of talk to settle this, did we have to reach the point where a strike was necessary? Shame on all who were involved. As other authors mention, the real question is where does the ditrict go from here? Soes the Board have the political will to make the tough decisions, like closing schools and latering attendance areas in the face of parental resistance? What will they do about the bloated administration and associated costs? What will be done to make the district an educational leader instead of one with the reputation of being slow to adopt cutting edge practices? Who will they engage in these processes?
Daniel October 18, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Has anyone seen the terms of the settlement. The article stated the terms would be released soon by the Union and the School Board. I haven't seen it on either site. It would be nice to see how it was resolved.
R.G. October 19, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Bev: Play your scenario out. Strike during the summer? The kids are at camp, and the schools are closed. What's the point? How would striking over the summer accomplish anything? The board would have no incentive to compromise on any issue. This is clearly why it took as long as it did. The board needed an incentive to negotiate. It is unfortunate that it took a strike, but this is a right the teachers have and one that we should respect or at minimum live with.
Bev October 19, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Thanks for your responses. I really do know why they waited til the school year to strike - because they could hold the children HOSTAGE so their strike would be noticed. I am not happy with all of these unions hurting others to better themselves. It really is a crazy world out there. The work ethic has evaporated. The teachers have a great deal and a great schedule. And the kids suffer!
Jerry Hopkins October 19, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Bev, strike during the summer? Really? Have you been paying attention? Teachers exercised the right to strike. Like it or not, this was their right. In a week or so, when we find out the details, maybe some will say that the strike wasn't necessary. Perhaps the BOE could have figured out a way to budge before the marathon session. The teachers had to show that they were serious and had a great deal of community and parent support. Then, the board acted and they acted fast. Joe would have you believe that you're in the majority. Joe would have you believe many things. Simply read his comments. The teachers can simultaneously fight for their rights and love their students. The two are by no means mutually exclusive.
R.G. October 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Jerry: Very well said: "The teachers can simultaneously fight for their rights and love their students. The two are by no means mutually exclusive." The teachers are people too, with families to support, and lives of their own. If they do not look out for themselves and their own best interests, the BOE and administration certainly are not going to make the effort. Nobody is holding anyone hostage as Bev so poorly suggests. And to suggest that the teachers have a poor work ethic just goes to show that Bev is not aware of the hard work that teachers do or the endless hours of work teachers do OUTSIDE of the great schedule she mentions.
forest barbieri October 21, 2012 at 08:57 PM
We are all glad that they hugged it out and the teachers are back to work. Now let's tackle the bigger issues. What's the plan? Where are we headed and how are we going to get there?

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