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Article posted: 2/28/2013 8:05 PM

Glen Ellyn District 41 releases first details of new teacher pact

Details of Dist. 41 teachers contract come to light

By Christopher Placek

Teachers in Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 could receive annual raises of more than 3 percent over a three-year period under terms of a new contract made public Thursday.

All 265 teachers in the district will receive salary increases tied directly to the Consumer Price Index, and those who are rated "proficient" or "excellent" under the district's teacher evaluation system will receive an additional 1.5 percent annual increase, district and union officials said in a joint news release.

The school board unanimously approved the agreement Monday and the union's membership ratified it Feb. 7, but details weren't released until Thursday.

Teachers had been working without a contract since June 30, 2012, and negotiations over a new deal took almost a year. The new pact is retroactive to July 1 and continues through the 2015-16 school year.

"We have strong labor-management relationships and those really helped us to reach an agreement that not only addressed the usual employee-employer components but set the stage for the district's continued progress as a learning community," Superintendent Ann Riebock said in a statement.

Brian Bonkowski, the chief negotiator for the Glen Ellyn Education Association and an eighth-grade social studies teacher, said in a statement teachers are pleased to have a new agreement after having worked for more than half of the current school year without a contract.

The new compensation system abolishes the traditional step salary schedule for teachers. However, there are opportunities for additional compensation for those who have advanced degrees or undergo further educational training, officials said.

Teachers who receive favorable evaluations, plus the automatic CPI increase, will receive increases of 3 percent retroactive to the 2012-13 school year, 3.8 percent in 2013-14, and 3 percent in 2014-15. The increase for the 2015-16 school year will be established when the CPI is set, officials said.

Also under the agreement, teachers will contribute more toward benefits and premiums. Those contributions would be "reasonably modest," according to the news release, but a specific number was not provided.

Officials have said the final contract will not be made public until late March.

Teachers retirement benefits will be retained, but payments will now only be made on a post-retirement basis. That will help the district better manage the cost of anticipated pension reforms at the state level, officials said.

Both sides also said contract negotiations included enhancement of the district's continuous improvement process, in an attempt to develop a "21st century learning environment."

One piece of that includes the controversial Think Tank initiative, a plan to combine second- and third-grade classes, and fourth- and fifth-grade classes at the district's four elementary schools.

The school board is expected to vote March 11 on a partial implementation plan for the program.

Contract: School board to vote March 11 on Think Tank program

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