Archived Story

Niles teachers, district reach tentative contract agreement

Published 12:57pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Niles Community Schools and the Niles teachers’ union have reached a tentative agreement on a new teachers’ contract.

Jon Harmon, spokesman for the Niles teachers’ union, said the agreement was reached late Friday evening. The school district’s lawyer, Eric Delaporte, confirmed an agreement was reached Friday.

Both sides are scheduled to vote on whether or not to ratify the agreement Monday. The teachers have been working without a contract since June 2011, while negotiations have been ongoing since January 2011.

“If this thing gets ratified, it would be nice to have the district’s sole focus get back to educating children,” Delaporte said.

Harmon and Delaporte declined to provide details of the tentative agreement. Both said details would be available to the public if the agreement is ratified during Monday’s school board meeting.

Harmon said he wants members of the teachers’ union to have a chance to review the tentative agreement before details are made available to the public.

He expects the agreement to pass.

“I don’t think there is anything that would hold this up,” Harmon said.

Harmon said members of the teachers’ union would need a majority vote to ratify the contract. The vote is expected to take place a few hours before Monday’s school board meeting. The school board would then vote to ratify the contract during the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Westside Administration Center, 111 Spruce St.

Harmon said both sides worked extremely hard to understand each other’s points of view last week. Informal talks took place Tuesday and Wednesday, while formal meetings were held Thursday and Friday.

“Both sides had some really good discussions on points that were outstanding — and there were a lot of them,” he said. “I am thankful that the district sat down and was as frank and honest with us as we were with them.”

“There was a lot of hard work and some frank conversations and the ability to do that, really, I think played a part in this and I am hopeful that both sides will ratify,” Delaporte said.

Superintendent Richard Weigel also weighed in on reaching a tentative agreement.

“We are glad we have a tentative agreement for the sake of the children and our community … we are looking forward to working together on the continued efforts of raising achievement for the children of our community and meeting their needs,” he said.

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