District 211 ratifies four-year teachers contract

Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board members Thursday unanimously ratified a four-year teachers contract retroactive to last summer despite the union president's concern that some minor points in the document's wording hadn't been thoroughly reviewed.

The mid-December deal that averted a strike may or may not be reflected accurately in the official contract, even though the major points are certainly correct, said John Braglia, president of Northwest Suburban Teachers Union Local 1211.

But Braglia did not attend Thursday's meeting to reinforce that concern.

District 211 Superintendent Dan Cates released a written statement the previous day, indicating that compromises on both sides had paved the way for the December agreement.

"The board values our staff members and made a degree of movement that recognizes our staff while also sustaining our financial stability," Cates wrote.

The contract includes base salary increases of 2 percent for the first two years and increases equal to the rate of inflation up to 1.75 percent in the third year and up to 1.5 percent in the fourth year.

For the current school year, a teacher with no prior experience has a base salary of $53,851 while the highest-paid teacher in the district has a base salary of $131,221.

The median base salary - halfway between the highest and lowest - is now $111,337.

Before the ratification, teachers had been working under the terms of the previous contract, which continued to provide for annual step increases.

A first-year teacher had been on track to earn a base salary of $52,795 this year, while the highest base salary was $128,648 and the median $109,154.

Under the new contract, teachers will pay higher premiums for health insurance, and the two most costly insurance plans no longer will be available by the end of the contract.

The district's health insurance is self-funded, and officials said the changes are intended to significantly reduce costs.

Complying with recent legislation, end-of-career salary increases will be reduced by 50 percent and limited to an annual increase of 3 percent to help reduce future pension costs.

Teachers authorized to pursue graduate education now will pay a larger portion of their tuition costs, even as the district continues to invest in those earning credentials to teach courses that qualify for both high school and college credit, officials said.

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  John Braglia Joe Lewnard/
Dan Cates
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