New Dist. 211 stance puts coaches on spot

Published: 10/30/2007 12:45 AM

It appears Palatine-Schaumburg High District 211 and its teachers union are heading for a showdown not just over teacher pay but whether post-season prep sports games will be canceled.

District officials changed their tune Monday and announced they will now allow student-athletes to participate in post-season sports games and practices -- even if the teachers go on strike.

But there's a big caveat: The coaches of those teams who are also teachers -- that's almost all of them --would have to cross the picket line and report to work if they're going to be allowed to hold practice or coach a sport.

Union Vice President Jason Spoor took issue with that. He said union members meet their coaching duties during any strike -- but would not cross the picket line to teach.

Previously the district had said all extracurricular activities and events would be canceled in the event of a strike.

Friday, union President John Braglia had said the district -- and specifically Superintendent Roger Thornton -- would be to blame if sports events get canceled. Braglia said he gave coaches the green light to continue coaching during any strike.

The teachers union could strike as soon as today, though most indications are no strike announcement will come that soon.

Fremd and Palatine football teams have advanced in the playoffs. Also still battling for state titles are Fremd, Conant and Schaumburg in girls volleyball; the Palatine cross country team and individual runners from Conant and Schaumburg; the Palatine girls cross country team; and all five schools in girls swimming.

According to the district's Web site, school officials will follow Illinois High School Association guidelines, which grant participation to students if a strike happens during the post-season.

Regular-season practice and contests would remain canceled.

If a teachers' work-stoppage occurred prior to a post-season event, participation would be restricted, according to the IHSA.

Read the district's full statement on post-season play at and click "FAQ's" under "Negotiations Update."