Dist. 158 board approves new deal
Teachers in Huntley Unit District 158 have a new three-year agreement after the school board ratified a contract Tuesday night.
The school board and teachers union, the Huntley Education Association, had tried twice before to broker a deal before teachers overwhelmingly approved the latest agreement, which was reached a week ago. Board members voted 6-0 in favor of the contract. Board member Michael Skala abstained.
Teachers had ratified the contract Monday night. Union leaders said 98 percent of the members who voted approved of the contract.
The three-year contract includes a 3.5 percent step increase each year for years of service but no increase to base salary, board member Tony Quagliano said.
In addition, the contract maintains current levels for district-paid health insurance and pension costs, Quagliano said.
Union co-president Julie McLaughlin said the agreement includes a number of changes over the previous two offers, including the length of the contract.
"We are glad the process is over and we have a fair contract," McLaughlin said.
Union members had rejected the previous two offers from the board of education. The first was voted down in September, and the second was rejected in October. At that time, teachers gave the union leadership permission to call a strike, if needed. The results of the strike vote were "overwhelming," union leaders said.
Reasons for the union members' rejection of the previous two offers were not disclosed, but union leaders said they were "looking for a fair contract."
Before the latest agreement was reached, the union declared an impasse in negotiations. However, several hours after the impasse was declared, the two sides came to a tentative agreement.