Classes canceled Thurs. for Prospect Heights District 23 students as strike continues

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PROSPECT HEIGHTS (FOX 32 News) - A suburban teachers strike got emotional Wednesday night.

For the second day in a row, class will not be in session Thursday for kids in the Prospect Heights District 23.

Teachers went on strike Wednesday, affecting about 1,500 kindergarten through 8th graders. The teachers union and the school board are trying to come to an agreement over many things, but the big issue is money.

Teachers want a 4.5 percent salary increase, and the district says they are offering 3.25 percent salary increase.

"I really am appalled and floored that there are no negotiation meetings occurring today,” said parent Mary Flessas.

The fight continued Wednesday night over the district's contract with the teachers union. That fight, unfortunately, not taking place in negotiations, but rather on the sidewalk in front of the administration building.

“As of this point, no we are not negotiating today and it's extremely disappointing on a day when our kids didn't get to be in the classroom," said gym teacher Dan Perillo, who’s also on the negotiating team.

Teachers went on strike Wednesday morning as negotiations that went well into Tuesday night went nowhere.

On Wednesday night, the teachers hit the sidewalks again around the same time a meeting was supposed to happen between the two parties.

When the school board president showed up for an interview that FOX 32 had scheduled, the group out front took advantage and followed her in the building asking why the meeting wasn't happening.

Prospect Heights District School Board President told FOX 32 the two parties are at a standstill.

"It might have been the mediator, I honestly don't know, it was kind of just a decision made, I think all simultaneously," said Mari-Lynn Peters.

The district and union are not agreeing on proposed teacher salary increases that the district says would cost them half a million dollars, which they can't afford.

Peters said it's likely they won't meet again until they hear a new proposal from the teachers union.

So as of right now, there is nothing on the table as far as future meetings and there will not be school on Thursday.

The local park district is offering day care for the next three days.

“We didn’t want to be in this position,” PHEA president Bob Miller said.

A board statement posted on the district website said officials were “extremely disappointed.”