School is in

Strike ends in Evergreen Park

By Laura Bollin

Students in Evergreen Park School District 124 were back in the classroom Monday after an unscheduled nearly two-week break because of a teachers’ strike.

The District 124 board of education and the Evergreen Park Federation of Teachers Local 943 reached a tentative verbal agreement for a new contract last week after an all-night negotiating session that lasted until 4:30 a.m. last Friday, and signed the agreement after another session that went until 10:15 p.m. the same day, according to district’s website.

Tim Scanlon, whose son, Tadhg, 9, is in third grade at Northwest Elementary School, said the children are glad to be back in the classroom.

“It’s happy days in Evergreen Park,” Scanlon said. “They had fun being off, but after a while even kids realize they are supposed to be back in school. It’s pretty quiet in the district. It is kind of typical of Evergreen Park. When times are bad, people rise up and take care of it, and then things go back to normal and people go back to their routines. We’re good, hardworking people.”

The union voted 136-43 Monday to approve the agreement.

Details of the agreement were not available at press time Tuesday. Disagreements over annual raises, health insurance coverage and retirement benefits were the main reasons for the impasse.

District 124 Superintendent Robert Machak declined to discuss the details of the agreement until the school board approves the contract. The school board was scheduled to vote on the contract at its meeting Wednesday.

District 124 teachers and paraprofessionals went on strike Oct. 2 after negotiations that had been ongoing since April for new collective bargaining agreement failed to bear fruit. Students missed eight days of classes, which will be made up at a later date.

Evergreen Park School District 124 includes Central Junior High, 9400 S. Sawyer Ave; Northeast Elementary School, 9058 S. California Ave., Northwest Elementary School, 3630 W. 92nd St.; Southeast Elementary School, 9800 S. Francisco Ave.; and Southwest Elementary School, 9900 S. Central Park Ave.