Grayslake school board, staff unions agree to 3-year contract

Teachers and most other staff members at Grayslake Elementary District 46 schools will receive salary increases of at least 6% under a recently ratified collective bargaining agreement.

The three-year contract calls for 6% pay increases in each of the first two years and a 4% increase in the third year.

School board members approved the deal last week, and members of the employee unions, the Grayslake Federation of Teachers and the Grayslake Federation of Paraprofessionals and School Related Personnel, ratified the pact earlier in August.

For the first time, the two sides used a process called interest-based bargaining during negotiations. The system is based on mutual interests rather than positions and emphasizes problem-solving.

"The interest-based bargaining process proved to be a beneficial, collaborative process where the teachers felt their voices were heard," said Coye Flores, a fifth-grade teacher and union president.

School board President Jim Weidman said the board felt the new system helped all sides communicate better.

"This open dialogue deepens the trust between all parties involved and can be a building block for more cooperation in the future," Weidman said.

Superintendent Lynn Glickman said that because of increased competition for jobs, the new contract raises the pay for program assistants and employees in the operations and maintenance departments by 14.5% and 20%, respectively, in the first year. Increases in years two and three will be 6% and 4%, respectively - the same as for teachers and other staff members.

Before the last contract was approved in November 2019, more than 300 teachers and about 180 support workers went on a daylong strike.

The newly ratified contract runs through the end of the 2024-25 school year.

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