No school Tuesday for West Chicago D33 schools - New York News

No school Tuesday for West Chicago D33 schools as strike continues

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

More than 4,000 students in West Chicago will not be in class Tuesday as teachers continue to strike after months of negotiating with district officials.

Teachers started to picket on Monday morning after talks fell through Sunday night.

The main sticking points between the teachers union and officials with West Chicago Elementary School District 33 have been salaries and health insurance premiums. School officials have said budgetary restrictions will force them to place a cap on how much it pays for health insurance.

While classes have been canceled Tuesday, two care centers will remain open for students who have registered, according to a message posted on the district's website.

The district employs 282 certified staff members and oversees six elementary schools, a preschool and a middle school.

Although both sides disagree on several issues, they agree on wanting to get the kids back in school.

"We know that being in this situation is not beneficial to the students or the community," says West Chicago School Board member Dave Barclay. "We all share a joint responsibility to solve this as soon as possible and we're exploring every avenue that we can.

"I think it's not fair for the kids," says parent Jimmy Montenegro. "Not only for my son, for my daughter, but for all the kids in West Chicago. I think they should help out the teachers get whatever they want so we can put our kids back in school."

The teachers union says its upset they are not at the bargaining table and say they're waiting on the board.

The union a statement to its members Monday, saying, "we are still prepared to meet with the school board if and when you are prepared to work with us to resolve this situation in a way that is fair to students, teachers, and the community you were elected to represent. "

Union and district officials have been negotiating for more than 17 months.

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