A three-year contract finalized by Naperville Unit District 203 board members Wednesday amounts to an approximate 2 percent increase in each of the next three years for the district's 1,300 teachers.
Board members and representatives from the Naperville Unit Education Association praised the deal that also includes an emphasis on a new professional development model for teachers who have earned their master's degrees.
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Key terms of the new agreement include phasing out by 2015 boosting pay for retiring teachers, eliminating the early retirement option, and the implementation of the Career 203 professional development program.
Beginning July 1, teachers will see a base salary increase of 2.35 percent, or 78 percent of the 2011 Consumer Price Index. In year two of the deal, the base increase will be 1.14 percent, or 67 percent of the 2012 CPI. The third year's base increase will be 67 percent of the 2013 CPI, which has yet to be determined.
With all steps and education incentives, Associate Superintendent for Finance Dave Zager estimated the total value of raises to average 2 percent over each of the three years.
The starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience this year was about $45,164. A teacher with a master's degree plus 54 hours of additional college credit and 22 years of experience makes about $111,595.
Board members believe the district is fast becoming an example for other districts when it comes to contract negotiations.
"I think this negotiation process went very well. If you look back early in the school year, there were several strikes in other districts. And for the third straight contract, we've been able to avoid those issues," Vice President Terry Fielden said. "This community is going to do a great job for our students and our teachers, and hopefully we'll be able to lead the way in the state and show everyone else how it should be done."
Union President Mark Bailey thanked the board and expressed his excitement to begin the new contract and Career 203 program.
"I cannot tell you how excited I am for the educators and the students we serve as we begin this innovative approach to the professional growth within this new contract," Bailey said. "This has been a thoughtful, collaborative and thoroughly professional process."
The union's approximately 1,350 members ratified the agreement on May 14 with 89 percent of the membership voting in favor of the contract's terms.
Raises: Union president praises negotiation process and new contracts