Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has released drafts of the salary schedules laid out in the new teachers contract, painting a clearer picture as to officials' claims it will help eliminate the district's structural deficit.
There are two separate schedules based on years of experience and level of education: Tier 1 includes all current teachers, while Tier 2 applies to new hires.
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The most stark differences in pay come toward the middle and end of a teacher's career.
A teacher with 20 years of experience and a master's degree plus 30 credit hours, for instance, makes $96,033 in a year. By 2015-16, the final year of the new contract, that same teacher's salary will rise to $108,701. Compare that to a newly hired teacher with identical credentials, who under the Tier 2 schedule would make $79,554 to start and $88,672 in the contract's final year.
"We've offered aggressive (pay for) advancement in the past, and we were compensating more than the majority of surrounding districts," board President Tim Millar said. "This gives us a better structure."
The contract calls for salary increases of 1.08, 2.08, 2.14 and 2.22 percent, respectively, for each year of the contract, including step movement for years of experience.
In another example, the salary for a current 10-year veteran holding a master's degree will be $66,942 come 2015-16, compared to $57,762 for a new teacher under the Tier 2 schedule.
Starting salaries for new teachers are a little lower, as well, though officials said they're high enough to remain competitive in the area.
A teacher with no experience who, under the current system, makes $41,539 with a bachelor's degree and $49,722 with a master's will make $39,944 and $44,037, respectively, under the new schedule.
Most teachers who are hired by the district are near the beginning of their careers, so it is only over time that the pay discrepancies will become more pronounced.
Millar said District 15 is at the forefront of moving salaries to two tiers. He's heard of only one other, Highland Park-based Township High School District 113, which last month approved a teachers contract with a two-tiered system.
Though the contract was unanimously approved Wednesday, Millar said it will be another week or two before the district releases the entire agreement because some loose ends remain.
Superintendent Scott Thompson also said that while he doesn't anticipate any changes, the salary schedules are still considered drafts because contract language and certain details have yet to be finalized.