Champaign's teachers voted to give their contract negotiators authorization to call a strike. About 97 percent of educators who voted approved the action. The Champaign Federation of Teachers represents about 850 educators whose contracts expired this summer. Both sides have been negotiating since August. The vote itself is several steps removed from a walkout and is instead a procedural step. Before teachers can strike, both sides have to put forward a ``best and final'' offer that's posted to members for at least two weeks. Teachers would have to file a 10-day notice before walking off the job. A union spokesman says talks are ongoing. School board President Laurie Bonnett says she believes the vote is premature and says she thinks the two sides will still reach an agreement.
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