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Plainfield teachers reach verbal agreement on contract

PLAINFIELD – Teachers have reached a verbal agreement on a new contract with Plainfield School District 202.

Teachers plan to vote on the contract Jan. 29.

Association of Plainfield Teachers President Dawn Bullock said in an email the negotiation team has a verbal agreement and is waiting for it to be put in writing by Friday.

Plainfield School District spokesman Tom Hernandez confirmed that a tentative agreement was reached Wednesday.

“We are hopeful,” he said. “The board does not plan to vote on this before [the teachers] do.”

Teachers will hold meetings in their own schools over the next couple weeks and will meet in a general membership session Jan. 27, Bullock said.

“Details of the [contract] will be available after Jan. 29,” Bullock said.

Prolonged talks

Negotiations have gone on since late 2013, but teachers have worked without a contract since August 2014.

On Oct. 8, the negotiating teams from both sides worked out a tentative deal. But teachers turned down the deal in a final vote Oct. 22, saying they have received an increased workload and the tentative contract’s salary, benefits and retirement provisions didn’t address that.

Teachers started regularly picketing School Board meetings, while negotiations with district officials continued.

While the discussions extended into the spring semester, talks weren’t as contentious as in 2002, when Plainfield teachers went on strike.

Throughout negotiations, Bullock has said a strike was possible, but not likely due to both sides negotiating in good faith.

School Board President Roger Bonuchi said he couldn’t comment on the agreement’s details because nothing was in writing as of Thursday.

“I hope we can come to an agreement and turn the attention back to teaching and running the district,” Bonuchi said.

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