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posted: 4/3/2013 12:01 AM

Dist. 220 approves, releases teachers' contract

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By a 6-1 vote, the Barrington Unit District 220 school board approved the final language of a three-year teachers' contract Tuesday night and released it publicly on its website.

The document the board previously approved in principle by a 5-1 vote in February can be found at barrington220.org/contract.

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"We essentially approved all the critical terms about a month ago," board President Brian Battle said at Wednesday's meeting. "We will have the exact wording available on our website tonight."

Board Member Richard Burkhart again cast the sole dissenting vote against the contract. In February, he said he'd wanted the contract to cover only two years for the greater ability it would give the next board to adapt to financial uncertainties.

Fellow board Member Tim Hull abstained from the February vote because he has a relative who works for the district. But he voted in favor of the final document Wednesday.

The three-year contract is retroactive to the start of the current school year and will expire in the summer of 2015.

After 11 months of negotiations, the Barrington Education Association which represents the more than 700 teachers of District 220 declared an impasse in January and could have legally gone on strike anytime after Feb. 21. An agreement was informally reached Feb. 6 and approved by the school board Feb. 19.

Even before the finer points and technical language of the contract were approved Wednesday, board members were able to explain at their February vote the essential benefits of the contract.

Though the contract won't affect every teacher's salary in exactly the same way, over the life of the contract each teacher will experience an average annual increase of about 3.3 percent, Battle said.

The contract also modifies the teachers' salary schedule to reflect "half steps" during the first two years before reinstatement of the "full step" in the third year.

Base salary increases are 0 and 1.6 percent for the first two years, followed by an increase of half the rate of inflation the final year.

The contract maintains the current insurance for teachers, with the district's contribution capped at 5.5, 4 and 3 percent for each year.

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