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Article updated: 10/28/2013 5:34 PM

Des Plaines Dist. 62 approves teacher assistant contract

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Des Plaines School District 62 officials have inked a new four-year contract with the district's 96 teacher assistants that calls for salary increases averaging about 3 percent over the course of the agreement.

The contract, which is retroactive to Aug. 1, covers employees at the district's 12 schools who assist teachers in special needs classrooms and act as tutors for students in which English is a second language.

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Together, the para-educators represent the second largest employee union in the district, after the 400-member teachers union, and before the union representing custodial and maintenance employees, and the union for administrative assistants, health clerks and library staff.

Para-educators will receive salary increases of 3.25 percent this school year, 3 percent in 2014-15 and 3 percent in 2015-16. In 2016-17, they are due to receive an increase equivalent to the consumer price index plus .75 percent, in an amount not to exceed 4 percent, but not less than 2 percent. The CPI increased 1.7 percent in 2012.

Under the contract, those who have been employed for at least 10 years are eligible to receive a "longevity" pay bump between $1,200 and $2,000, depending on years of service. The earliest an employee could become eligible under the old contract was after three years of employment, according to Associate Superintendent Paul Hertel.

Contract negotiations, which began in April, took place over the course of 10 sessions. The school board unanimously approved the agreement last week, and the union's membership ratified it previously. The contract runs through July 31, 2017.

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