NAPERVILLE, Ill. – Naperville teachers held a rally Monday night to urge District 203 to strike a new deal with their union, days before the new school year is set to begin.

The previous contract expired on June 30.

The union, which represents about 1,500 teachers in District 203, has worked with a mediator to make headway on a fair contract with the school district. With the start of school looming and no deal on the horizon, workers marched to Monday night’s school board meeting to ensure their voices were heard.

Among the issues on the table: compensation and leave. Workers seek assurances that employees would be allowed to take 12 weeks of FMLA leave after childbirth or adoption and get paid the entire time by using accumulated sick days.

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“I think it’s critical we get the time that’s necessary to build strong families and strong families build strong communities,” said dual language teacher Maggie Kulzick.

Workers also seek more money than the district offers in its compensation package because they say more is being asked of them in the classroom.

“At the end of the day, the district is far in the black. They’re doing very, very well and when you ask somebody to do more for something, you should pay them more for it,” said Dan Iverson, president of NEUA.

The school board says it is committed to providing excellent education and fair compensation for its teachers. Board members, however, say they want a fiscally responsible contract.

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As the start of school approaches, both sides say they will continue to come to the table. Kids return to the classroom come Thursday.

“We have no desire for this to go any farther,” says Iverson, “because it would hurt kids.”