10/27 D65 Negotiations Update from Board President Candace Chow & Superintendent Paul Goren

An Important Message from the Board President and Superintendent

Dear District 65 Staff, Families, and Community:

We have both lived in Evanston for many years having moved here with our families to enjoy everything Evanston has to offer, including outstanding public schools. We want to ensure that we remain a lighthouse district where professionals work and learn in an environment that embraces best practices and the most current advances in teaching and learning to help every child reach their full potential.

We are disappointed to share that last night DEC initiated what is called the public posting process under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. This is the initial step a union must take before it can go on strike (see FAQs for more information on this process). For nearly a month, a federal mediator has helped to facilitate our deliberations and narrow down outstanding issues so that an agreement can be reached. Despite our grim financial outlook, we continue to make offers and compromises in good faith and to respond to the needs DEC has expressed. Our offer of additional planning time responded to one of DEC’s top priorities and reflects our mutual commitment to high quality teaching and learning in District 65. Having been at the table as recently as yesterday, their action to initiate the public posting process is disappointing because we continue to make progress and have scheduled several bargaining dates over the next several weeks.

What does this all mean for District 65 staff, students, and families? With the initiation of the public posting process by DEC, the threat of a strike becomes more likely. A number of legal requirements and timeframes must be met (totaling at least 28 days) prior to a strike occurring. In addition, DEC is required to provide the District with a 10-day notice of intent to strike. Given these timelines, by our estimates, the earliest a strike could occur is at the end of November.

What comes next? While the public posting process is underway, we will continue negotiating in good faith, with our next session scheduled for November 3. The Board’s bargaining team continues to be fully engaged in these important discussions and will spend however long it takes to reach common ground and a fair agreement. Our students and educators deserve nothing less. While we are fully committed to resolving issues during upcoming sessions, we recognize the impact that a possible strike may have on our students and families. It is our sincere hope that there will be no disruption to our students’ learning. We are exploring ways in which children and families could be supported if a strike occurs. In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to provide updates on the status of this situation.

Sincerely,

Candance Chow, Board President
Paul Goren, Superintendent of Schools

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