Woodland 50, teachers union agree to one-year contract extension
Owing to the uncertainty introduced by the global pandemic, the Woodland Elementary School District 50 board of education and the district's teachers union agreed to a one-year extension of the current contract, both sides announced Thursday in a joint statement.
The new deal will run through the 2020-21 school year.
Both sides initially sought a multiyear contract, but as the health crisis evolved this spring teachers union members introduced the idea of extending the old contract instead. Members of the school board and administration agreed that the approach would allow school officials to focus on remote learning, according to the release.
"Though our membership had hoped to address multiple other matters related to teaching and learning with this round of bargaining, including raising starting salaries from the current second-lowest in Lake County, circumstances quickly changed," teachers union president and Woodland Middle School science teacher Sharon Anday said. "We are grateful that the board of education agreed and worked with us in a spirit of grace and true collaboration."
Woodland 50 school board President Carla Little said she is pleased to start next school year with a solid contract in place.
"The Board would like to thank the union for emphasizing teamwork and flexibility despite all the events happening in our world today, and the uncertainty of the long-term economic forecast," Little said.
Under the new one-year contract, the district's salary schedule for certified staff will remain largely unchanged. Staff performing extra duties will receive a 1% salary increase and noncertified staff will receive a 4.15% salary increase. Teachers' retirement and health insurance will remain the same, according to the news release.
The next contract will have to address several issues including how the global pandemic will affect the district's fiscal outlook. Also, state law requires the minimum teacher salary to be $40,000 by 2023-24 and the current starting salary in the district is $34,220, according to the news release.
The new agreement will expire on June 30, 2021.