State education chief sent to Waukegan amid strike
WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — The state became involved Wednesday in a nearly four-week teacher strike in Waukegan when Gov. Pat Quinn ordered the chairman of the state Board of Education to help both sides reach an agreement and get students back in classrooms.
About 17,000 students have been out of school since the strike started on Oct. 2. Both sides have reported progress in recent weeks, but have failed to agree on salary increases.
Quinn told the state board chairman, Gery Chico, to meet with Waukegan School District 60 and the teachers’ union a day after the local school board abruptly adjourned a public meeting that had 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.”
Torres apologized on Wednesday, saying she felt attacked and could not hear the person next to her, but nevertheless “set a poor example.”
Board President Anita Hanna also apologized, saying disrespectful behavior won’t be tolerated by anyone.
Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley said the meeting was an embarrassment for the Chicago suburb.
“As the mayor of this community, I’m appalled by the behavior of this board,” Motley said.
Gov. Quinn said in a statement that he wanted a quick resolution.
“Children in Waukegan cannot afford to miss another day of school,” Quinn said. “Both parties must put their differences aside, return to the bargaining table and negotiate an agreement that puts children back in the classroom as soon as possible.”
Information from: The News Sun, http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun