Dist. 15 denies request to see 10-year teachers contract
Palatine Township Elementary District 15 has denied a Freedom of Information Act request to release a 10-year contract with its teachers union.
Both sides have already approved the unusually lengthy pact. Two days after the school board passed the agreement, the Daily Herald submitted a FOIA request with the district seeking a copy of the deal.
The district denied the request Friday, citing ongoing work with the Classroom Teachers Council to finalize contract language. The district pledged to make public the written contract on its website when "it is in its final form."
"To publicly release drafts of detailed contract language, on the other hand, is not required under FOIA because the legislature has recognized that this could mislead the public and cause unnecessary labor disputes both in the immediate and long-term," the district wrote in its denial.
The Daily Herald plans to file an appeal with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office.
Don Craven, general counsel to the Illinois Press Association, has said that the contract became a public document when the school board approved it.
"The union voted, the board voted in an open meeting, they talked about it in a public meeting -- it's a public document," Craven said.
Only a summary of some of the terms have been posted on the district's website, under the April 13 school board agenda, at ccsd15.net.
The contract will provide annual pay raises that average 2.5 percent for the deal's first four years and 4 percent for the last six years.
Superintendent Scott Thompson has said the district expects the contract will increase salary costs less than 1 percent a year because of early retirement incentives for teachers and other cost-saving measures.
In calculating its costs through the life of the contract, the district moved all of the current 883 teachers through the salary schedule for 10 years, Thompson wrote in an email last week. In doing so, the district projected replacing teachers eligible for retirement with lower-paid new teachers, he wrote. Those new teachers would cost less than half the retiring teachers.