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Statement of IFT President Dan Montgomery on settlement in Waukegan

10/30/2014

Following the tentative contract agreement reached between the Waukegan Teachers’ Council (IFT Local 504) with their school board early this morning, IFT President Dan Montgomery released the following statement:

“I am so inspired by our Waukegan teachers and the community united behind them.

Going on strike is never a decision made lightly. But for teachers in Waukegan, their fight for fairness, respect, and a quality education for the students they serve was a sacrifice worth making.

Congratulations to Waukegan Teachers’ Council President and IFT Vice President Kathy Schwarz, Lake County Federation of Teachers President Mike McGue, our hard-working staff, and all the members who stood together through twenty days of this difficult struggle.

We must also recognize the assistance of Governor Pat Quinn and state board of education Chairman Gery Chico, who got personally involved to help achieve a fair settlement. They believed in us, and the importance of a resolution for this community.

I don’t believe we would have been able to reach an agreement last night without the leadership of Chairman Chico.

Teachers and students will be going back to school soon in a new Waukegan that they are building together. This is the heart of our work as a union, and IFT members across our state stand proudly in solidarity as we fight for what is right in all of our communities."

The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees. The Waukegan Teachers’ Council is part of the Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504, an affiliate of the IFT.

Immediately following the midnight agreement, the Waukegan board of education and teachers union issued a joint news release, below.


Board of Education and Teachers’ Union Reach Tentative Agreement

The following is joint statement from the Board of Education and the Waukegan Teachers' Council.

Shortly before midnight tonight, the Board of Education for Waukegan Community Unit School District # 60 and the Waukegan Teachers' Council reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract.
All schools will remain closed on October 30 and October 31, as both parties review the agreement. Pending a ratification by teachers on Thursday, teachers will return to work on Friday to help prepare schools for re-opening to students on Monday, November 3.
“This tentative agreement represents not only a compromise between the Union and the Board, but an end to what was a long, trying process for all parties involved,” said Waukegan Teachers’ Council President Kathy Schwarz. “We are grateful to the entire Waukegan community that struggled with us through these difficult times. We would also like to thank Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico for their assistance during the conclusion of contract talks. After years of instability, we are hopeful that this agreement will be the first step in giving our students the schools they deserve.”
"It is with great delight that we acknowledge having reached a Tentative Agreement with our teachers that will return our students to their classrooms. These last four weeks have been difficult for everyone involved. Both the Board of Education and I have witnessed first hand a great passion for education from parents, students and community members."
 

We eagerly look forward to working together as a community for the betterment of our students,” said Waukegan Superintendent Dr. Donaldo R. Batiste, and we thank the many community partners who came forward to offer invaluable support and assistance. Particular gratitude is extended to Governor Quinn, ISBE Chairman Chico, State Superintendent Koch, and Regional Superintendent Wood," said Superintendent, Dr. Donaldo R. Batiste.

An update on school re-openings, make-up days, and other related matters will be provided at a later date.

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