No summer break in DuPage teacher contract talks

 
 
Updated 6/13/2016 5:26 PM

Summer vacation doesn't necessarily mean a break from teacher contract talks.

At a time when most students are focused on rest and relaxation, teachers and officials at many DuPage County school districts are working to negotiate new agreements before the 2016-2017 academic year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Nine DuPage districts observed Memorial Day with expiring contracts. Then, last week, Naperville Unit District 203 and Itasca Elementary District 10 approved new multiyear deals with the unions representing their teachers. Queen Bee Elementary District 16 is expected to vote on a new pact this week.

That leaves six other DuPage districts still at the bargaining table.

"It really hasn't been too bad," said Patricia Kerback, president of the Lisle Education Association, which is in negotiations with Lisle Unit District 202.

Kerback said the meetings attended by representatives for the teachers, administration and school board haven't taken up too much time.

"We work diligently and communicate well so we can keep on track." she said.

Here's a look at where the districts stand with their talks:

Addison Dist. 4

The two sides in Addison Elementary District 4 have met 10 times since March 9, most recently on Thursday.

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The district's current three-year contract with its teachers union is due to expire June 30.

"We're progressing," Superintendent John Langton said. "I'm certainly hopeful and believe we'll be able to reach a tentative agreement this summer."

Langton said negotiators have made tentative deals on "minor, noneconomic issues." But salaries and health and retirement benefits remain on the table.

The Addison Teachers Association represents more than 300 members in a district that serves about 4,300 children in an early learning center, seven elementary schools and one junior high.

Wood Dale Dist. 7

Negotiators in Wood Dale Elementary District 7 have met nine times since contract talks began on Jan. 14 and are scheduled to return to the table July 12. The teachers current two-year pact is set to expire June 30.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Wood Dale Education Association represents 92 teachers and 27 paraprofessionals in the district, which serves 1,176 students in four elementary schools and one junior high in Wood Dale.

Neither Superintendent John Corbett nor WDEA spokesman Joe Krause would comment on what, if any, issues remain on the table.

"We're hopeful to settle as soon as possible," Corbett said. "We always are."

Krause said negotiations are progressing. "We are hopeful this process can be completed before the upcoming school year," he said.

Itasca Dist. 10

Teachers in Itasca Elementary District 10 will get average raises totaling between 8 percent and 13 percent over the course of a new three-year contract that won unanimous approval last Wednesday from the school board.

The contract calls for average 4.1 percent salary increases in the first year of the pact and 4.8 percent in the second. The third year's increase will be based on 97 percent of the Consumer Price Index, or rate of inflation.

The Education Association of Itasca, which represents the district's roughly 75 teachers, ratified the agreement on June 6.

District 10 serves roughly 900 students at three schools -- one primary, one intermediate and one middle.

Bloomingdale Dist. 13

Administrators and teachers in Bloomingdale Elementary District 13 began negotiating a new contract in March. Since then, both sides have met six or eight times, informally and formally, Superintendent Jon Bartelt said.

Negotiators have not yet scheduled another bargaining session. Bartelt would not say what issues remain on the table, and calls to union leaders were not returned.

The current, three-year contract is set to expire June 30. The Bloomingdale Council of Teachers, Local No. 571 IFT-AFT, AFL-CIO, represents more than 100 educators in the district, where roughly 1,300 students are taught in two elementary schools and one middle school.

Queen Bee Dist. 16

Board members in Queen Bee Elementary District 16 are expected to approve a new contract on June 16. Both sides have met nine times since contract talks began March 10. The teacher's current four-year deal expires at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 21.

The teacher's union represents 130 teachers who serve 1,979 students across two elementary schools, one intermediate and one middle school.

Superintendent Victoria Tabbert said the major points of the current negotiations included a restructuring of the salary schedule, salary increases and increased instructional time.

Neither board President Mike Summerville nor union representatives Jill Bassi and Natalie Christopher immediately responded to requests for comment.

Lombard Dist. 44

In Lombard Elementary District 44, negotiations have been ongoing since January. The current four-year contract with the Lombard Education Association, which represents about 250 teachers, is set to expire July 31.

Superintendent Michael Robey said he could not comment on the remaining issues.

The district serves about 3,180 students in six elementary schools and one middle school.

DuPage Dist. 88

The current three-year teachers' contract in DuPage High School District 88 is scheduled to expire June 30. The DuPage District 88 Council Local 571 of the American Federation of Teachers represents about 240 teachers in the district who serve about 4,000 students at Addison Trail and Willowbrook high schools.

Lisle Unit Dist. 202

The hope in Lisle Unit District 202 is that the new teachers contract will be settled soon.

The teachers, administrators and school board members involved in the talks have met nine times since March.

Patricia Kerback, president of the Lisle Education Association, said the plan is for everyone to meet over summer break. The next meeting is scheduled for June 29.

Salaries and benefits still are being discussed. Revisions also need to be made to the contract because of new state laws that have taken effect.

"We're looking at some issues with the contract," Kerback said. "We're cutting language and so forth. It's taking a little bit longer, but we have a wonderful, collaborative board."

The hope is that the new contract can be approved by the time school starts Aug. 17.

The Lisle Education Association represents about 150 teachers and other certified staff. District 202 serves about 1,500 students in one high school, one junior high and two elementary schools.

Naperville Unit District 203

A new three-year contract has been approved for about 1,390 educators in Naperville Unit District 203, who will get an average of 2.35 percent raises each of the next two years.

In the third year of the contract, teacher pay increases will depend largely on action at the state level. If the state freezes local property tax levies, teacher salaries also will be frozen in 2018-19. But if the state doesn't impose a new property tax limit, teachers will receive a base raise of 67 percent of the December 2016 Consumer Price Index.

Teachers in the Naperville Unit Education Association instruct roughly 16,000 students at an early childhood center, 14 elementary schools, five junior highs and two high schools. Their new deal begins July 1.

• Daily Herald staff writers Jessica Cilella, Justin Kmitch, Katlyn Smith and Marie Wilson contributed to this report.

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