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Two-week teachers strike over in Evergreen Park SD 124

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Updated: October 12, 2012 9:04PM



A tentative agreement has been reached to end the two-week teachers strike in Evergreen Park School District 124.

The Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers and District 124 board will meet at 6 p.m. Friday to go over terms of the agreement.

Both sides agreed not to release any details of the deal until each has ratified it.

“We worked 11 hours, very hard, on reaching this agreement,” Deneen Pajeau, field service director for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, said after negotiators from both sides emerged from Central Junior High School abour 4:30 a.m. Friday.

School will resume on Monday, after students lost eight days of school to the strike, District 124 board President Kathy Rohan said.

“I think everybody is happy that it’s over,” Rohan said. “With any negotiations, everybody gets something they want and you don’t get something you want.

“We are all relieved the kids will be back in school Monday.”

About 15 parents and teachers who waited out the night in their cars outside the junior high school cheered when Pajeau said the strike is over.

“It feels good to know our students, teachers and paraprofessionals will be back in school and we can start moving forward in Evergreen Park,” Pajeau said.

Rohan said she’s confident the two sides will be able to put the tensions of the last two weeks behind them.

“Everbody wants to move forward and get back to work,” Rohan said. “There is always some rebuilding after some disagreeements, but I don’t anticipate any problems with that.”

Mary Zofkie, a teacher at Northeast Elementary School, anticipates no problems working with administrators.

“Monday will be a joyous day,” Zofkie said. “In our buildings, we are families and we will get back to where we left off.

“We work side by side with the administrators,” she added. “There won’t be any problems.”

Ray Richter, a father of six children in the district, said he was surprised the two sides reached an agreement.

“I expected no deal tonight,” Richter said.

“The main thing is the kids are going back to school,” he said. “The kids are going back and it’s going to be a great day.”

Negotiations resumed at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Central Junior High School. The strike prevented about 1,800 students at five schools from attending class.

About 150 teachers and 60 support staff walked out Oct. 2 after negotiations that began in April failed to achieve a new contract. The prior contract expired June 30.



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