Proviso District 209 teachers' strike drags on with no end in sight

A teachers strike in western Cook County drags on with no formal negotiations currently scheduled. Teachers on the picket line in Proviso District 209 say they're ready to be back in class.

"We are looking to compromise because we wanted to end the strike today. We are now in day 10 and we are disappointed," said Maggie Riley, teacher at Proviso West and President of the Proviso Teachers Union.

The teachers union wants higher pay and smaller class sizes. The district says their offer is within the financial means of the district.

"I'm tired of people who run this board that look like me hurting students who look like me," said Carissa Gillespie, Proviso West High School teacher.


Cellphone video captured the increasing tension that erupted during this exchange Tuesday between the superintendent and a board member. Superintendent James Henderson released more video and a letter to families saying that "board member Claudia Medina aggressively came toward him, screaming demands."

She saw it the other way around and filed a complaint with Hillside police, who say they're investigating.

The strike has kept students out of class 10 days and now other elected officials in western Cook County are siding with the teachers' demands.

"We don't see these demands as unreasonable, in fact we see that it makes perfect sense," said Cook County Board Commissioner Brandon Johnson.

Even if there is a deal soon, there's no class next week as the Proviso district goes on spring break.