10-year District 15 teachers contract done, with 6 years of 4% raises

The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 board approved a 10-year contract with the district's teachers union Wednesday night.

While full details of the contract were not immediately available, it does call for an increased workload among art, music and physical education teachers, and offers incentives for teachers to retire up to four years early.

The teachers union, the Classroom Teachers Council, approved the contract Monday.

District Superintendent Scott Thompson said specific dollar amounts in the contract are still being worked out, but a news release from the district says annual increases for most teachers will average about 2.5 percent for the first four years and about 4 percent for the last six years.

Thompson said this is expected to mean a 0.9 percent annual increase in cost to the district for the contract's duration.

The contract also offers a way for teachers in the Tier 2 salary schedule to transition to Tier 1.

District 15 adopted the two-tiered salary schedule in 2012 as part of the current contract. It put all of the current teachers at that time on Tier 1, and all new hires on Tier 2.

Thompson said the two-tier scale has caused issues between the district and its teachers as Tier 2 teachers, see their pay scale as "inferior to the Tier 1 counterparts," wrote in a March 9 memo to board members.

In the new contract, Tier 2 teachers could move up to Tier 1 after six years of teaching in the district. Upon moving to Tier 1, teachers will receive a slightly higher salary than their Tier 2 salary.

Thompson said offering early retirement for teachers could save the district money.

"We probably can get two teachers for the cost of one of those teachers," Thompson said.

Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director of the Illinois Association of School Boards, said he hasn't heard of any other 10-year contracts.

"Not that there are not some out there. We do not collect this information," Schwarm said. "The point of collective bargaining is to let the district and teachers work these things out locally. Apparently in this case both sides are in support."

The contract would likely provide stability for district when it comes to budget and planning purposes, Schwarm said.

According to Thompson, District 15 and representatives from the teachers union started meeting in November.

The District 15 negotiating team included Thompson, Chief School Business Official Mike Adamczyk, and Lisa Nuss, former president of the teachers union and now head of the district's human resources department.

Thompson says it was beneficial to have Nuss on the negotiating team.

"We had someone working and collaborating with us that had a strong understanding of the previous negotiations," Thompson said.

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