BELVIDERE, Ill. (AP) — Teachers in Belvidere have returned to their classrooms without a contract.

The Rockford Register Star reports the teachers union contract with the district board of education expired on Aug. 15 and a new deal hasn't been reached. Teachers returned to work this week under the conditions of the previous contract. Some dressed in black for the first day of school Monday to show union solidarity.

The 600-member Belvidere Education Association is negotiating new terms with the district. The superintendent says they will likely reach an agreement soon because "the number of issues is relatively small."

The union requested federal mediation Aug. 7, putting negotiations on hold. A federal representative will join negotiations when they resume Sept. 3.

The union president says a strike is unlikely.

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