The District Educator’s Council, the union that represents teachers in Evanston/Skokie School District 65, blames proposed changes announced publicly by the administration this spring for delaying an agreement on a new four-year contract that would begin next month.

In a news release to media Friday, DEC President Jean Luft said that a federal mediator will be meeting with the teachers and administration for “several bargaining sessions” in August as they strive for agreement.

“Even though the DEC membership has already given the initial authorization for a strike,” Luft said in the release, “it is our greatest hope to reach an agreement that continues the tradition of high quality instruction in District 65.”

The proposed changes that DEC opposes include “reduction of teachers’ professional planning time, splitting more teachers over two buildings, and scheduling issues.”

Luft said “these changes will have a significantly negative effect on the quality of education in District 65 and impair the district’s ability to recruit and retain excellent teachers.”

The District 65 administration had no immediate comment on the DEC release, but it had said recently that the talks, while not conclusive, were “constructive.”

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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