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updated: 6/6/2012 9:01 PM

Dist. 15 teachers ratify new 4-year contract

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The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 teachers union Wednesday ratified a new contract, paving the way for the board's vote on June 13.

Classroom Teachers' Council President Lisa Nuss said about two-thirds of the membership approved the four-year agreement, which goes into effect Sept. 1.

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"The contract is a statement on the teachers' part to move forward in partnership with the district toward financial stability," Nuss said. "We wanted to be partners with them, and feel this contract does that."

Nuss said it wouldn't be fair to board members for her to disclose or comment on specifics. District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson also declined to provide details until board action is taken.

The agreement affects about 830 teachers in the 12,000-student district.

District officials and union representatives worked to get a new agreement in place by the end of the school year, which wrapped up Wednesday.

In March, the board unanimously approved $6 million in budget cuts to help erase next year's $9.6 million deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue is projected to grow wider each of the next few years, depleting currently healthy reserve funds from about $50 million now to less than $5 million by 2016.

With hundreds of teachers in attendance, Nuss addressed the board immediately before its vote to urge members to hold off on cuts and to stop blaming them for the district's budget woes.

It's unclear how this new contract will affect those financial projections, but Nuss said the teachers are doing their part to curb the deficit spending.

"We're all a part of the system and want to work together, and this will make for a stable system so we continue to work for the children and the community," she said. "That's why we're here."

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