There was no school on Tuesday for 1,800 Evergreen Park students as teachers and paraprofessionals walked the picket line on the first day of the first strike in Dist. 124’s history.
The Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers’ bargaining team walked out of contract talks Monday evening after learning that the Dist. 124 school board would not be allowing paying teachers or staff nor allowing them to make up missed work days lost during the strike.
ABC-7 News reported D124 Board President Kathy Rohan denying claims that the school board had threatened the union’s bargaining team during Monday’s contract negotiations.
"We did not threaten anything, but part of our final proposal was that missed days would not be made up," Rohan told ABC-7 News. "If all the days are automatically made up, the kids are losing, and the people walking out on their jobs are not because their final pay at end of year would not be affected."
Both counterproposals from Monday night’s bargaining session are posted on the D124 website. Patch has also included pdfs with this report.
No new bargaining sessions have been scheduled for the rest of this week. The Evergreen Park teachers union has until 5 p.m. Friday to accept the school board's counter offer presented to the union bargaining team on Monday night.
The school district is prepared to forego state aid—about $7,000 per day—for each day the teachers are out on strike. Illinois public schools are required to carry 176 attendance days.
D124 Superintendent Dr. Robert Machak said the loss of teacher and staff pay for days lost to the strike was “one part of the conversation” during Monday’s contract talks.
“There was no discussion about it,” Machak said. “The union’s response to the board was that they got up and left.”
The state allows school districts five emergency days. Should teachers and paraprofessionals return to the classroom before the end of this week, no state aid or teachers’ pay will be lost due to the strike.
“If teachers come back Thursday this is a non-issue,” the district superintendent said. “You are paid to be in school in the classroom. If you voluntarily choose to walk out from that responsibility why would you be paid for that?”
While teachers would not be paid for make-up days, students would still be making up classes for any days missed due to the work stoppage, Machak said.
The district could receive a state waiver requiring students to attend class on such government holidays as Lincoln’s Birthday and Presidents Day. Also under consideration is a plan to offer alternative enrichment summer school programs taught by substitutes and volunteers to help students make up lost days.
“I would need to meet with the board regarding a contingency plan if the strike lasted more than a month,” Machak said. “I hope it wouldn’t go that long. At some point we may need to consider bringing in substitutes.”
Machak described the days leading up to the strike at the district’s school buildings disruptive for students.
“It has been a frustrating start to the school year,” Machak said. “Beginning with so many distractions, missing days and not making up days, ribbons in trees and teachers wearing the same colored shirts. It’s time taken away from the ultimate purpose of why we’re here.”
The district has posted a list of learning resources that parents can use to keep children academically active while off from school.
Read Past Coverage of the Contract Negotiations:
- Strike On: EP Teachers Walk Picket Line
- Last Chance for EP Teachers and D124 to Avoid Strike
- Scenes of a Protest: EP Teachers Stage Noisy Rally on 95th Street
- Threat of EP Teachers Strike Looms
- EP Teachers Set Oct. 2 Strike Date
- No Agreement In D124 Contract Talks