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posted: 8/31/2012 10:02 PM

Dist. 204 teachers OK contract

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Members of the Indian Prairie Education Association voted Friday to approve a two-year contract that would give them raises while also reducing some benefits.

The deal was approved by a vote of 1,061 to 582 during balloting that took place at all 34 school buildings in Indian Prairie Unit District 204.

Negotiating teams from the school district and teachers union reached tentative agreement on the contract earlier this week. Now that the union has approved the deal, the school board is set to vote on it Tuesday.

Union President Val Dranias said the vote margin by teachers to approve was fairly typical compared to the last three or four contract votes.

"It was a very long negotiation. It was a difficult negotiation but very fair," Dranias said Friday night. "We feel it's a fair contract."

Superintendent Kathy Birkett said earlier this week the agreement was a collaborative effort that took into consideration financial challenges presented by the economy.

The deal would affect some 2,100 teachers at the district's high, middle and elementary schools.

Under the agreement, teachers are expected to receive average raises of 2.13 percent for the current school year and 2.89 percent the year after.

The pact would also eliminate or reduce retirement health care benefits for teachers retiring under this contract; reduce paid benefits for part-time tenured employees; and freeze stipends paid to teachers for extra duties such as coaching and clubs.

Indian Prairie officials said the changes in health care benefits would save the district $987,849.

The district includes portions of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield.

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