District 65 contract just in time for school year
"Our teachers can confidently start school this week, and our students can begin the school year as planned on Tuesday, Sept. 4," said District 65 School Board president Katie Bailey on a tentative agreement. | Jon Durr~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 4:39PM
EVANSTON — A tentative contract agreement with the District 65 School Board includes improvements in the work and learning environment, and holds promise for future improvements, as well, said District 65 Educators’ Council president Jean Luft in the union’s first public statement on the agreement reached Aug. 27.
“DEC is pleased that the new agreement improves several areas of the District 65 learning and working environment and also provides avenues for making future improvements in additional areas,” Luft said in a news release.
Evanston/Skokie School District 65 officials announced Aug. 27 that a tentative agreement with the District Educators’ Council had been reached on a new four-year contract.
“We look forward to a successful start to our school year,” said School Board President Katie Bailey. “Our teachers can confidently start school this week, and our students can begin the school year as planned on Tuesday, Sept. 4.”
Superintendent Hardy Murphy had called the proposed contract “fair to our teachers, fair to our community and fair to our students.”
The new agreement was reached after some six months of joint bargaining, with a federal mediator supervising the last five sessions.
Teachers had balked at contract language they said would reduce professional planning time and would also make changes in music and art programming, stretching teachers over two buildings in some cases.
About 200 teachers, family members and supporters gathered at a rally outside the district administration headquarters earlier this month in support of a fair agreement.
Luft said the details of the agreement are to be shared with teachers Aug. 30. She said there will then be a secret ballot on the tentative agreement next week.
After the agreement is ratified by the union membership, it will be presented to the full school board for approval, she said.
Luft said DEC “is appreciative of the time, energy and effort put forth from both DEC and the School Board’s bargaining teams.
“DEC is also grateful for the support of a highly skilled federal mediator, who facilitated the final agreement. The teachers wish to thank the parents and community members who expressed support during the many months of negotiations. Those expressions of support have deeply touched us.”
The District 65 teachers are eager to begin a successful school year with the students on Sept. 4, she said.
“The teachers consider it an honor to work in a community that values and respects high quality education for all children,” she said.