The Evergreen Park teachers union and school board are not likely to sit down at the bargaining table for another round of contract talks until Sept. 24.
Talks for a new three-year teachers contract broke down Monday evening, prompting the union to
The teachers union has not set a specific strike date. The earliest a walkout could take place is Sept. 28.
D124 Superintendent Dr. Robert Machak said his administrative team is beginning to formulate a contingency plan for the district’s 1,818 students in the event of a teachers strike.
“It would be irresponsible of me not to plan for such a contingency,” Machak said. “Do we staff classrooms with substitutes, keep some buildings open for working parents who depend on us for childcare? I hope it doesn’t come to this but these are the questions that we are starting to ask.”
The school district board and Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers have been in negotiations for a new contract since April.
Before Monday’s bargaining session, on the front lawn of where they were joined by striking Chicago Public School teachers.
Watch the video of Monday's teachers' rally.
Teachers is nothing that the district cannot afford, which is carrying a $16.2 million fund balance.
D124 officials defended the fund balance on its website as being necessary to meet cash flow needs because expenditures are not always aligned with receipt of local, state and federal revenue.
Both sides have been working with a federal mediator since declaring an impasse last month.
Monday’s bargaining session lasted 90 minutes after the board increased its final offer in salary, insurance and retirement in an attempt to move towards settlement, according to the D124 website.
Illinois Federation of Teachers union mediators conveyed that teachers are sticking by their Aug. 30 “best and final offer. “
Both sides' impasse offers are expected to be posted on the state's Educational Labor Relations Board website on Thursday.
D124 officials said the union has not offered to meet before the next scheduled bargaining session on Sept. 24. A second meeting has also been scheduled for Sept. 26.
Read Evergreen Park Patch's complete strike coverage: