Latest Woodland, employee union proposals go public

  • Sharon Anday

    Sharon Anday

  • Chris Schrantz

    Chris Schrantz

 
 
Updated 10/14/2015 4:43 PM

Contract proposals from Woodland Elementary District 50 in Gurnee and an employee union are now available for the public to examine.

Salary and benefits are among the sticking points in the contract talks that have occurred periodically since January.

 

Offers from each side became public Wednesday on the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board website. State law required the offers to become public because a deal was not reached within seven days of the Woodland Council union's request to have the offers posted with the educational labor relations board.

Negotiations were expected to resume Thursday with assistance from a federal mediator.

In a five-year contract proposed by the District 50 school board, there would be annual raises matching the Consumer Price Index with an extra 1 percent for teachers making less than $78,000. There would be a minimum 2 percent raise and a maximum of 3 percent.

Teachers receiving $78,000 or more per year would get a pay hike mirroring the Consumer Price Index plus 1 percent, with a cap of 2 percent, according to the school board's proposal.

Bus drivers and other support workers would get raises matching the Consumer Price Index and an additional 1 percent, under the five-year school board offer. The raises would have a floor of 2 percent and a 3 percent ceiling.

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"The financial and political climate in Illinois has led to a budget stalemate in Springfield that could jeopardize our receipt of promised general state aid funding, let alone any increases in funding to lessen the burden on local taxpayers," says the school board document submitted with the state agency.

About 780 members of the Woodland Council -- a branch of the Lake County Federation of Teachers -- have been working without a deal since the academic year began in August. Woodland teachers, bus drivers and support workers are in the union.

Woodland Council contends District 50 has plenty of money for raises greater than what the school board is offering if a $41.7 million fund balance were tapped.

In a statement, Woodland Council President Sharon Anday said the school board has provided inflated figures about the union's salary demands, such as raises nearly reaching 10 percent in each year of the contract for instructors and in the 7 percent range for the support employees. Salary increases are not included in the union's most recent proposal made public Wednesday, but other specifics on medical benefits and other issues are included.

"The largest raise we are asking for in year one of the five-year contract proposal is 5 percent," said Anday, an eighth-grade science teacher. "We are negotiating insurance with the board and the changes they are proposing would set back our members in years two through five, so any talk about what those years would look like as percentage raises is premature until the two sides agree on all terms."

District 50 board President Chris Schrantz said the goal for his side is to "reach an agreement on a new contract which recognizes the excellent work performed by our staff, protects the district's fiscal viability over the length of the agreement and supports student learning and achievement."

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