ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It was a scene of relief and celebration for teachers in Rockford Public Schools this afternoon. After months of negotiations, a deal is on the verge of completion that has ended the strike and will resume classes. A moment REA president Karen Bieschke says is a gratifying one.
"This agreement was reached after a lot of give and take on both sides. The complete package was acceptable in all of its parts. We probably had, maybe 30 issues that we covered through the course of this bargaining and we reached an agreement on all of those issues”, says Bieschke.
More than 1,200 teachers gathered at Guilford High School tallying a 1264-12 vote in favor of approving the new four year contract. While some portions of the deal required sacrificing, many teachers feel satisfied with the result.
"I think we did really well. We got a really good deal with our insurance and our day is gonna be a little bit longer but we're ok with that”, says Froberg Elementary School teacher Sherry Klotz.
Bieschke knows the union would have stayed on the picket lines for months if they had to, but now that a deal is in place, teachers say they're ready to hear the first class bell.
Roosevelt Alternative High School teacher Jennifer Macek says, “It was good to see the union come together collectively to fight for what we believe in. It’s a good settlement, a fair settlement for the teachers. I'll be glad to go back to my classroom on Monday."
Now that the teachers have approved the deal, the school board must vote on it. Members are expected to do that Tuesday night.