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posted: 8/23/2013 3:26 PM

Grant teachers get 12 percent wage increase, 30 minutes added to school day

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Grant High School teachers will receive salary increases of slightly more than 12 percent over three years under a contract approved by the school board and teachers union.

The most noteworthy portion of the agreement calls for teachers to receive a 7 percent bump in the 2014-15 school year when the school day will increase by 30 minutes, administrators at the high school on Route 59 in Fox Lake said.

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The Grant High School District 124 school board and the Grant Council of Teachers announced the tentative contract agreement Aug. 9, but did not release details of the agreement until Friday.

Superintendent Christine Sefcik said the new contract runs through 2016, and that both sides met throughout the summer to reach consensus.

A representative from the teachers union was not available for comment Friday.

The school board approved the agreement Aug. 15, Sefcik said, while the union ratified the contract Aug. 19.

"The agreement achieves a goal of both the board and the teachers to increase instructional time in order to provide greater opportunities for our students to succeed," she said. "After a lengthy planning process ... the decision was made to lengthen the school day 30 minutes beginning with the 2014/15 school year."

Sefcik said the added time to the day will give students an opportunity to benefit from more individualized study to help with academic achievement.

A student and a counselor would set achievement goals together, monitor goal progress, then ensure students are receiving academic or behavioral resources required to achieve their goal, she explained.

If needed, the student could be assigned to an English, math, science, or social studies tutorial lab, have meetings with a school counselor or social worker, then enroll in credit recovery programs or support group.

If no additional resources are necessary, Sefcik said, the student will receive a 25-minute study hall.

Teachers will receive 1.73 percent raises in each 2013-14 and 2015-16. In 2014-15, they will receive a 1.62 percent raise in addition to the 7 percent increase, she said.

"It is a very exciting time at Grant," Sefcik said. "As schools are increasingly being called upon to ensure students have the 21st century skills necessary to succeed, we must continually look for ways to improve student achievement."

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