Palatine District 15 defends decision to keep teacher contract private
Palatine Township Elementary District 15 officials posted a Frequently Asked Questions on the district website Wednesday to defend their decision to keep from the public the new 10-year contract reached last week with its teachers union and address other issues.
In response to the question "Why haven't you released the contract for review?" the FAQ states that some of the contract remains in draft form and other portions have yet to be written.
"It would be irresponsible to share a document that is incomplete and not corrected. And once a final document is agreed upon by both parties, we will gladly share it," the FAQ states.
Asked whether the Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune have a right to view the contract, district officials cite an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act they say allows them to keep draft documents in collective negotiating matters from the public.
"The purpose of this exemption is to prevent incorrect or inaccurate information from being disseminated, which would cause the community and district unnecessary confusion and need for correction," the FAQ document says.
The FAQ also addresses questions about an early retirement incentive in the contract, the district's two-tier salary schedule and plans to increase the teaching load of elementary physical education, art and music teachers.
District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson has said the contract will increase the district's teacher compensation costs less than 1 percent a year, while teachers receive average annual raises of 2.5 percent for the deal's first four years and 4 percent for the last six years.
Thompson wrote in an email that in calculating the estimated district cost through the life of the contract, the district moved all of the district's current 883 teachers through the salary schedule for 10 years. In doing so, they projected replacing teachers eligible for retirement with lower-paid new teachers, he wrote. Those new teachers will cost less than half the retiring teachers, he wrote.
Thompson adds that the movement of teachers from the district's Tier 2 pay schedule to Tier 1 after six years of service also was factored into costs.
The Daily Herald has filed a Freedom of Information request for a copy of the contract that teachers and the board of education ratified last week. The district has until Friday to respond.