Teachers happy to hear contract settled

Teachers happy to hear contract settled

CHAMPAIGN — After the Champaign school district and teachers' union settled on a contract early Tuesday morning, Champaign Federation of Teachers President Cathy Mannen said she's heard from teachers who were happy to hear the news.

"I did hear from a lot of members today, (who are) glad there's been a tentative agreement reached," she said.

The Champaign school district and its teachers' union started negotiating at about 4 p.m. Monday, and the session ended at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. The session was at the Mellon Administrative Center in Champaign.

They were bargaining without the assistance of the federal mediator they've been working with for several months. The federal government shutdown prevented the mediator from attending Monday.

"Both sides had some work to do and we worked until we came to resolution," Mannen said. "That was the ultimate goal."

The agreement was announced shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday.

Union officials said they would have no comment on the terms of the contract until after members vote. Mannen said she could not comment on the time and date of the vote.

School board President Laurie Bonnett exited the negotiating session early Tuesday saying she was pleased with the discussions.

A statement from the district echoed that sentiment.

"At this time, the board understands that the Champaign Federation of Teachers will be taking information from tonight's meeting to its membership," it said. "The district is committed to bringing resolution to these negotiations in a way that is fair to all parties and does not disrupt the educational program for our students."

During that time, the school board also had a meeting in executive session, citing the need to talk about negotiations. School board members who are not on the district's team of negotiators left about a half hour before those negotiating for the school district and the union emerged from the building.

About 30 teachers were on hand, waiting for news about the bargaining session.

The school district and teachers have been negotiating a new contract since May and have been in the process of posting their most current offers with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, which had the potential to lead to a teacher strike.

The teachers' contract expired this summer.

The school district is also negotiating a new contract with the union that represents its support employees. That contract expired this summer, as well.

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