Valley View school board, union still working to reach contract
After months of discussions between Bolingbrook’s Valley View Community Unit School District and its teachers union, talks continue between the two sides.
The negotiations over a new contract — which included an offer that was rejected by union members — between the district and the union that represents the district teachers have been ongoing on since spring, and no indication has been given that a deal is close.
District spokesman Larry Randa said last week that negotiations continue in an effort to reach an agreement that is fair for both sides.
School Board President Steve Quigley said Monday that a meeting was scheduled to be held earlier this week and that he’s optimistic that a deal can happen soon, but he didn’t put a timetable on it.
“I really thought we’d have a deal by now,” he said. “Hopefully, we can come to an agreement soon that both sides are happy with.”
Negotiations began last spring, before the current contract expired in June. In September, the teachers union overwhelmingly rejected an offer from the district, and both sides have been meeting since that time.
Quigley said this week that he didn’t want to comment on the specific issues that the two sides remain apart on, but he indicated in September that the contract proposed by the district called for teachers to increase heath insurance contributions, a move that was not acceptable to union members, as the union felt wage increases offered by the district would not be enough to cover the increase in the cost of health plans.
He also said changes and new mandates in state education bought about by Senate Bill 7, approved by the Illinois State Legislature last year, have been part of the discussions.
“The bottom line is that we want our teachers to be properly compensated, but we also have to answer to the taxpayers,” Quigley said Monday. “As a board, we have to look out for the entire district, including the 70 percent of the people who pay taxes to this district, and who do not have children in our schools.”
Victoria Sutterlin, president of the Valley View Council, Local 604 of the American Federation of Teachers, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, during the negotiations, teachers are working under terms of the old contract.
Quigley said and he did not expect any type of work stoppage or strike, as took place in Chicago earlier this school year.
Local 604 represents about 1,800 teachers, support staff and others employed by the district.
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