Addison District 4, teachers union release contract proposals

 
 

Both sides locked in a contract stalemate in Addison Elementary District 4 made their "final" contract offers public Wednesday, confirming a wide gap in proposed salaries for teachers.

Both sides are seeking a three-year pact. But while there has been progress in some areas of the talks that began last spring, there has been little movement toward reaching an agreement on salaries and benefits.

The two sides met 11 times and held several sessions with a federal mediator before the school board declared an impasse Oct. 27. They are not scheduled to return to the bargaining table until 6 p.m. Monday and then again at 6 p.m. Dec. 6.

The Addison Teachers Association's proposal calls for 2 percent baseline annual salary increases over the next three years along with "longevity" increases that would boost the total salary increases for teachers with five to 24 years' experience by roughly 6.5 percent in the first year and 6 percent in each of the next two.

The school board is offering raises for all teachers that would total roughly 4 percent in the first year of the proposed pact and 3.5 percent in each of the next two years.

The union's 25-page contract proposal also calls for:

• Teachers with up to four years in the district to receive 5 percent raises in the first two years and a 4 percent raise in the third.

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• Teachers with more than 25 years in the district to receive 4 percent annual increases over the three years.

First-year teachers who have a bachelor's degree currently receive a salary of $41,605. That number would increase to $42,645 in the first year of the contract, $43,711 in the second and $44,803 in the third.

The union argues that its salaries lag behind those of educators in most DuPage County elementary districts.

The average starting salary for a teacher in DuPage, the union says, is $44,416.67. The district ranks 24th out of 29, it says.

A teacher with 10 years' experience and a master's degree is paid $57,313 in District 4, compared with an average in DuPage of $66,171.83. It ranks 26th out of 30 districts, the union says.

As a result, the association says, the district is losing talented teachers.

The school board countered with its own 28-page report. That report says the average teacher retention rate in Illinois is 85.8 percent. Addison's retention rate is 82 percent, the board says, and four of 12 districts in the immediate area have the same or lower rates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The two sides delivered their proposals in writing to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board last week after the school board declared the impasse.

The state labor board will place the offers on its website, illinois.gov/elrb, Thursday.

In a statement last week, the district said the union has made "little or no movement" in its positions since May.

The union says it stands "ready to continue meeting with the board to work toward a settlement."

But, the union says in its report, its current salaries are among the lowest in DuPage and teachers pay more than double the average amount other teachers in the county pay for health coverage. The union says it agreed to multiple years of pay freezes and cuts to the district's health insurance contributions between 2010 and 2013.

The district says its latest insurance proposal would reduce annual insurance premiums by hundreds of dollars for all union members without changing any of the coverage.

Teachers have been working under the terms of a three-year pact that expired at the end of June. Bargaining on a new contract began March 9.

The union represents 307 full- and part-time union members in the district, where about 4,180 children are taught in an early learning center, seven elementary schools and one junior high.

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