New District 300 teacher contract includes 4% raises, on average
A new three-year teachers' contract guarantees nearly 4% annual raises on average for more than 1,500 employees within Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300.
The District 300 school board on Tuesday approved the contract, which runs from July 1 through June 30, 2022. The agreement was ratified by the Local Education Association District 300 (LEAD 300) union membership Aug. 14.
The 1,560 full-time equivalent employees covered by the contract will receive a 2% yearly wage increase across the board. The contract includes an additional 2% yearly step increase for the 1,465 teachers who qualify. There are no lane increases with this deal.
Salary increases will cost the district $12.4 million over three years. The total cost of the contract is $15.9 million, said Susan Harkin, chief operating officer.
The previous four-year teachers' contract also granted 4% yearly increases on average.
With the increases, the district remains in the midrange for teacher salaries in the Northern Illinois region, Superintendent Fred Heid said.
The district's starting salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree is $45,178. At the top of the salary scale, a teacher with a master's degree plus 45 additional credit hours earns $102,381.
Employee contributions toward health care premiums remained the same with this contract -- 30% for family health coverage and 20% for single employees.
Officials added a retirement incentive in the contract allowing employees who are Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) eligible to receive $600 annually for each year of service as a contribution into a health retirement annuity.
It's for employees who are 60 years or older and may need supplemental income to help cover health care costs before Medicare kicks in, Heid said.
"It's a way for us not to pension spike," Harkin said. "It is paid post-retirement. It isn't considered what we call TRS creditable earning."
Teachers eligible for the benefit may not have exceeded the 6% cap on pay increases during the four years before retirement.
"As soon as they are eligible for retirement, they have to take advantage of this benefit," Harkin said.
Roughly 90 teachers are eligible for the benefit because they are retirement eligible now or will be during the three-year contract duration, she added.