Wauconda Unit District 118, teachers agree to 5-year deal
The Wauconda Unit School District 118 board and the local teachers union have approved a labor contract calling for 3.6% salary increases in each of the next five years, starting immediately.
The deal with the Wauconda Education Association covers 351 teachers at six schools. It runs through the 2023-2024 school year.
The starting salary for a first-year teacher will increase to $39,000 from $38,000 under the pact, said Cameron Willis, the district's assistant superintendent of human resources. That will gradually rise to $41,600 by the final year of the contract, Willis said.
Additionally, the district will increase stipends for teachers participating in extracurricular programs 2.75% annually, officials said.
The district will begin contributing to the premiums for employees' family health insurance coverage, too, in addition to offering a cash option, Willis said.
The board and teachers also agreed to begin developing electronic learning programs for days classes are canceled due to poor weather or other emergencies. The district isn't ready to launch such programs yet, Willis said, but it may be ready during the course of the contract.
"Therefore, we jointly developed language to place in the contract for when we are ready for implementation," he said.
The prior contract expired Aug. 9. Negotiations took about six months. Inflation has been running about 2% in each of the last three years.
Willis called the sessions "collaborative and positive."
In a joint statement, union President Nicole Biskupski and lead negotiator Nikki Nelson were similarly upbeat about the deal. They said the contract allows the schools "to attract new and talented teachers and also retain our high-quality, experienced teachers."
The union ratified the contract Aug. 11. The board approved the pact Aug. 15.
In separate actions, the school board also has approved salaries for non-unionized support employees, supervisors and administrators for the 2019-20 term, as well as longer-term contracts for some administrators.
About 4,700 students attend classes in District 118.