- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) - Negotiating teams for the Waukegan teachers union and school district reached a tentative contract agreement early Thursday after a four-week teacher strike.

The agreement is pending ratification by teachers later Thursday. If approved, teachers would return to work Friday to help prepare schools to reopen for students on Monday. The agreement comes a day after Gov. Pat Quinn sent Illinois Board of Education chairman Gery Chico to Waukegan to help both sides negotiate.

About 17,000 students have been out of school since the strike started Oct. 2.

Quinn’s order came after an abruptly adjourned public meeting Tuesday night that had Waukegan school board members and parents shouting and booing. At one point, Waukegan School Board member Victoria Torres told the audience to “sit down and shut up.” She later apologized. Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley said the meeting was an embarrassment for the Chicago suburb.

Waukegan Teachers’ Council President Kathy Schwarz called the tentative agreement an end to a long, trying process.

“After years of instability, we are hopeful that this agreement will be the first step in giving our students the schools they deserve,” Schwarz said.

Waukegan Superintendent Donaldo R. Batiste’s statement announced the tentative agreement with “great delight” and also said the last month had been difficult.

“We eagerly look forward to working together as a community for the betterment of our students,” Batiste said.

Quinn lauded the efforts, saying the tentative agreement was a victory for students, parents, teachers, administrators and the Waukegan community.

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Information from: The News Sun, https://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun

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