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updated: 3/10/2014 10:12 PM

Dist. 220, support staff ratify new contract

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After almost a full year of negotiations, the Barrington Area Unit District 220 board on Monday ratified a new contract for support staff that includes yearly 2 percent pay increases.

The Barrington School Employees Organization ratified the three-year agreement at a meeting last month.

The pay increase is retroactive to when the previous contract expired on July 1, 2013. Support staff members, who include nearly 400 custodians, librarians and other full- and part-time workers, have been working under the terms of the expired contract.

District 220 spokesman Jeff Arnet said the employees will receive the retroactive pay increase in a lump sum.

For the final few months of negotiations a federal mediator was brought in to help alleviate the gridlock between the two sides.

"This package exemplifies the value placed on our classified staff by the Barrington 220 community, which the Board of Education represents," school board President Brian Battle said in a statement. "These individuals play a vital role in supporting our instructional mission and we appreciate their service to the school district."

In January, union members expressed their frustration over how long the talks had lasted by staging a silent protest outside a school board meeting.

According to a release by the district, the new contract also caps the school district's exposure to rising health care costs.

The contract can be read on the district's website.

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