CHAMPAIGN - Teachers will vote Friday on a proposed three-year contract.
Union negotiators, administration members and a mediator worked into the early morning hours Wednesday to reach a tentative contract agreement for Champaign schools' teachers.
Members of the Champaign Federation of Teachers, which represents about 750 teachers in the district, will take a first look at the terms at a meeting today at Centennial High School before they vote Friday whether to accept the contract.
Meanwhile, members of the Champaign Educational Services Personnel, which represents about 470 support staff members, met Wednesday night for their second mediation session.
Members of the negotiating team say they're now more optimistic about the outcome of their negotiations. Kathy Vigardt, who works at Garden Hills Elementary School, said progress was made at sessions Wednesday, and the bargaining team is meeting with union members at 9 a.m. Saturday at Garden Hills.
?We have issues we have to bring before members,? Vigardt said. ?A tentative agreement couldn't happen because decisions had to be made that the team couldn't make without asking members.?
A follow-up bargaining session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Contracts for both teachers and support staff expired last summer.
Jefferson Middle School media specialist Greg Novak, president of the teachers' union, said the session Tuesday night lasted more than seven hours, finally concluding at about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
?They're double-checking all the details today,? Novak said Wednesday. ?All members must have the proposal in hand 24 hours before the vote so they have a chance to read it.?
Novak, who has a long history of being involved in negotiations, was not this year, but he said this is the latest resolution he can remember.
?The worst we've ever gone before was November in 1996 and several times in the 1980s,? he said. ?This was one of the longer negotiations.?
?It's now in the hands of the CFT leadership,? said Beth Shepperd, assistant superintendent for human resources and community relations. ?It's on the agenda for the board meeting Monday night, and if it's ratified, the board will vote on it.?
Neither Novak nor Shepperd would disclose any details about the pay offers, insurance incentives or other issues related to the agreement.
Shepperd said about 12 members of the union and 10 administration members worked hard to reach the contract conclusion.
?Both teams gave a 100 percent effort,? Shepperd said. ?One thing that emerged from this long session was maintaining a very positive working relationship between the district and union leadership.?
She said the apparently successful outcome of teachers' contract negotiations makes school administrators more optimistic about resolving the support staff contract too.