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updated: 6/7/2010 8:24 AM

No pay hike for Wood Dale Dist. 7 teachers

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The Wood Dale District 7 Board of Education has approved a one-year contract that includes a pay freeze for all teachers and paraprofessionals.

The new deal, effective July 1, calls for a complete salary freeze including base, step, and lane changes.

All other contractual benefits - including the automatic 6 percent annual increase for retirees who give four years notice - were left the same.

Under the current four-year contract that expires June 30, a new teacher makes about $39,747.

Board President Debra Morgan said negotiations began in April and a tentative agreement was reached May 21. Members of the Wood Dale Education Association ratified the agreement on May 28 and board members unanimously approved the contract at a special meeting Thursday.

The Wood Dale Education Association represents 126 teachers and paraprofessionals serving approximately 1,350 students.

"I believe it was very heroic of everyone involved to get this deal done," Morgan said Sunday morning, noting the freeze will save about $410,000. "It allows us to keep class sizes the same and prevents us from having to release any teachers."

All nonunion employees, including classified staff and administrators will also take a one-year pay freeze. Supt. John Corbett will take his second consecutive freeze on his approximate annual salary of $181,000.

"We have a long history of working together and engaging in honest dialogue in an effort to serve the best interests of our students and teachers," Corbett said. "I am pleased that we were able to come to an agreement that preserved jobs and kept our educational program intact."

Teachers union co-presidents Tim Allaire and Dan McCann said they would have liked the deal to include a pay increase but said they realized they had to be "responsible."

"Of course we were hoping to be able to secure a pay increase for our members, but after looking at the financial forecast, we realized we had to do what was responsible," according to a written statement released to the Daily Herald Sunday. "Many members of the community are struggling right now and we wanted to work with the board to preserve the outstanding educational program we have in Wood Dale."