St. Charles Unit School District 303 reaches one-year contract extension with teachers union
St. Charles Unit School District 303 has reached a one-year contract extension with the union representing the district's teachers.
The contract with the St. Charles Education Association was set to expire at the end of the school year. On Tuesday, District 303 school board members approved the one-year extension, and association members also approved the extension.
"We appreciate that we are able to continue our long-standing partnership with the St. Charles Education Association to approve this one-year agreement," school board President Jillian Barker said in a news release from the district. "The school board is pleased that the approval of this negotiated extension will maintain the excellent learning environments for our students that our community expects."
In December, school board members approved bonuses for district employees for their dedication to serving students through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a resolution authorizing the payment, the board "wishes to recognize the extraordinary efforts extended by employees to educate and support our students during the COVID-19 pandemic."
Several teachers spoke at the Nov. 8 school board meeting about various concerns. As teachers addressed school board members, hundreds of their fellow teachers listened to them via loudspeakers set up in a grassy area outside Haines Center and cheered them on.
"The SCEA and its members have been identifying matters related to working conditions that we recognize will require complex problem solving by both parties," SCEA President Joe Blomquist said in a statement. "When the district approached us with the concept of an extension, our team and ultimately our membership voiced their willingness to delay the resolution of these matters. The extended time can be used by representatives from the district and association to engage in a deliberative process that is thoughtful, informed, and collaborative."
He said the extension will ensure the continuity of "our educational system at a time when our students need our educators' knowledge, skills, services, and supports."
"We hope that both parties will use this additional time to engage in conversation and seek to provide the highest quality education for our students through attracting and retaining high-quality staff," Blomquist said.