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posted: 7/2/2013 5:04 PM

Lake Park teachers get new contract

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Teachers and support staff in Lake Park High School District 108 have a new four-year contract with the understanding issues related to their compensation must be revisited in two years.

School board members on Tuesday unanimously approved the agreement with the Lake Park Education Association that will provide raises for union members averaging a total of 7.78 percent over the next two years. The contract was ratified by the union membership on Monday.

But the pact, which takes effect Aug. 12 and runs through 2017, only covers compensation during the coming school year and the 2014-15 school year. District officials said issues related to salaries and benefits must be renegotiated in two years.

Don Fulmer, president of the Lake Park Education Association, said the union is comfortable with the arrangement, adding that both sides have renegotiated compensation issues before.

"We've been doing it that way for at least the last five years," Fulmer said. "We're all committed to keeping the fiscal house in order."

District officials praised the deal, which is the result of five months of negotiations.

"It's a very fair and equitable contract," Superintendent Lynne Panega said. "We used an interest-based bargaining approach, and there were a lot of shared interests between the board of education, the administration and the Lake Park Education Association."

The district, for example, is offering expanded health care options for the children of union members. It will pay 80 percent of the additional "well dependent care" coverage.

Meanwhile, teachers in leadership roles have agreed to take on added responsibilities related to the district complying with the Performance Evaluation Reform Act. The legislation, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed in 2010, requires all Illinois schools to include measurements of student growth in newly designed performance evaluation systems for teachers and principals.

"It's a very solid, well thought out document that satisfies all the shareholders involved," Fulmer said of the contract.

When it comes to pay, Lake Park's 192 teachers and roughly 113 support staff are scheduled to get a 1 percent base salary increase in each of the next two years. They also are slated receive annual step increases of about 2.5 percent.

As a result of those and other factors, salaries will rise an average of 3.96 percent in the first year of the contract and 3.82 percent in the second year, officials said.

In addition, there will be a 1 percent increase each year in the stipends paid to coaches and sponsors of extracurricular events.

Including money saved from retirements, the district's payroll costs are expected to increase by 2.84 percent this coming school year and 3.4 percent next year, officials said.

Even with the pay increases, officials said, District 108 will continue to maintain a balanced budget.

"It's long been a board requirement that we balance the budget," school board President Bob Marino said.

Panega said the union's members have been "key players" in helping the district achieve a balanced budget.

"It's definitely a shared responsibility," Panega said. "It's a shared priority. So we're very fortunate to have the support of the union in achieving a balanced budget at Lake Park."

District 108, which has one high school divided into two campuses, serves students from Bloomingdale, Roselle, Itasca, Medinah, Keeneyville, Wood Dale and Hanover Park.

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