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More than 20,000 students to miss school as teachers in Chicago suburb strike

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More than 20,000 students in a suburb of Chicago won't have class or after-school activities beginning Tuesday after teachers voted to strike.

Teachers in Community Unit School District 300 voted Monday afternoon to strike after 11 months of negotiations failed to end with a new contract.

The last contract expired July 1, and class sizes and salaries remain the sticking points.

"It's pretty daunting. It's something that we kept talking about but I never really thought would happen," said fourth-grade teacher Ann Hottoby.

"We need a better learning environment for our students. Three years ago -- over three years ago -- I had 23 students in my room. The next year I had 37," she added.

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District spokesman Joe Stevens said in a voicemail to district parents and staff members that members from the Board of Education, the Local Education Assocation of District 300 -- the Carpentersville area district's teachers union -- and a federal mediator met for a final time Monday.

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"After the Board agreed to LEAD's latest proposal to further reduce class sizes at all grade levels and create class-size caps for middle and high school classes, the LEAD team increased its salary proposal by returning to an earlier salary request. At this point, the Board has met LEAD's expectations regarding class sizes, but we have not reached agreement on salaries," he said in the message.

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Three middle schools will remain open as emergency attendance centers for students in kindergarten to grade six who have no other place to go, according to the district.

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The district's website -- d300.org -- has information about the board's latest offer.

The massive district, which covers 118 square miles and 15 communities in four counties, hasn't had a teacher strike in three decades.