Grayslake Elementary District 46 teachers officially have a new contract, about three months after settling a strike.
School board agendas had periodically listed approval of the instructors' contract since February, but no action was taken on the document until Wednesday. Elected officials were unable to act for the three months because attorneys for the Lake County Federation of Teachers union and District 46 had been hammering out final contract language since the three-day strike was settled Jan. 21.
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Although board members gave tentative blessing to the deal in February, they needed to vote on the contract containing the final language. The board voted 6-0 in favor of the agreement covering the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.
"It's a long-awaited approval," board President Ray Millington said. "It's done. Motion passes."
A hard freeze will be part of the contract's first year, officials said. That means no base salary hikes or raises for longevity or teachers who receive additional job-related academic credentials. Under the contract's second year, some teachers will be eligible for a $1,000 base salary increase effective Sept. 15. Other instructors will be eligible to receive a $500 lump-sum stipend Sept. 30. Teachers who had provided a written retirement notice by March 1 will get 5.75 percent base salary hikes in each of their final four years of employment. Officials said instructors who submit a retirement notice after March 1 will receive 4 percent raises in each of their final three years with the district. Extra-duty stipends are frozen for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school seasons.
Teachers voted 247-60 in favor of the two-year contract at a meeting in January. About 325 teachers went on strike for three days over retirement incentives, base salary and extra compensation for job-related advanced degrees.
District 46 board members Wednesday night also gave final approval to a new contract for another classification of about 180 union employees for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school seasons, but details were not immediately available. Those workers include teaching assistants, custodians and secretaries.