District 300 teachers back to work, details of new deal unclear

School was back in session Wednesday for District 300 students after the school board and the teachers union agreed on a tentative deal Tuesday night.

The details of the new contract are unclear, and School Board Spokesman Joe Stevens said the specifics would not be released until at least December 18, when the contract is ratified by LEAD 300 and approved by the school board.

Beth Wintersteen, a science teacher at Jacobs High School, said she has not been told the details of the new contract, but said she trusts that the teachers got a fair deal.

“We don't know the details of the pay part and class sizes yet,” she said. “I completely backed my union and I trusted what they were going to go get for us.”

Wintersteen said she was glad a deal was reached on Tuesday and anticipated negotiations would go longer.

“It was kind of a surprise because it came so late last night,” she said. “We were fully prepared to [strike] this week and next if we had to.”

Wintersteen noted that getting back to school was ultimately best for the students.

“It's good because it keeps their schedule going but it also ensures that they're going to have normal class sizes again.”

Matt Miekle has a son at Lake in the Hills elementary and said the strike caused an issue over who would take care of his son during the day.

“My wife had to transfer to second shift of her job to take care of him,” Miekle said. “Now she has to work second shift all week. But I'm happy he's back in school.”

Miekle said he was frustrated by the strike, but ultimately sided with the teachers.

“Technically I would agree with the teachers,” he said. “My kid has 31 kids in his class. I understand [the strike] if the teachers are really looking out for the kids. It doesn't seem like they were holding out for the cash.”

Spokesman Stevens said in a text message Wednesday that he will have “no further comment until our Tentative Agreement is ratified by LEAD and approved by the Board, expected no sooner than December 18, although no firm date has been set at this time.”

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