Elmhurst District 205, teachers union OK 3-year contract
The Elmhurst Unit District 205 school board and its teachers union have approved a three-year contract that provides pay raises of more than 4 percent each year of the pact.
The deal ends about seven months of formal negotiations between the board and the Elmhurst Teachers' Council Local 571 of the American Federation of Teachers, the union representing more than 700 educators and other members in the district's 13 schools.
The two sides began talks in February, meeting 16 times through early June until asking a federal agency to assign a mediator. Negotiators reached a tentative agreement last month after meeting with the mediator once in July and twice in August.
The school board voted unanimously this week to approve the agreement that will extend the work day by 20 minutes for high school teachers and 10 minutes for elementary and middle school teachers to allow for more professional collaboration and student supervision.
The contract will boost teacher pay an average 4.62 percent in the first year, 4.53 percent in the second and 4.33 percent in the third. Those raises combine so-called step increases based on a teacher's longevity in the district with annual base salary increases of 2.25 percent.
A first-year teacher at the bottom of the pay scale now receives a $49,272 salary. That teacher would make $50,381 in the first year of the contract, retroactive to July 1.
The highest-paid teacher under the previous agreement received $112,237. That salary will increase to $115,607 in the first year of the pact.
School officials say the base salary raises will enable the district to attract and retain high-caliber teachers.
"We are pleased to announce the settlement after a very professional, collaborative negotiation season with our teachers union," board President Kara Caforio said in a statement. "The agreement allowed D205 to be fiscally responsible while placing the emphasis on honoring the experience of our teachers and professional collaboration all while focusing on what is best for students."
The contract won't be released publicly until "final editing" and proofing by both sides, Superintendent David Moyer said Thursday. The contract is expected to be ready in two weeks.
Before their vote, board members received a draft document and a summary highlighting changes with the previous agreement in addition to updates "throughout the entire process," Moyer said.
The most recent contract expired after three years at the end of June. Negotiators met outside regular teacher working hours every Thursday evening for four hours from Feb. 8 through May 31, except during spring break and the last week of classes, according to a memo to the school board.
A majority of teachers' council members voted to ratify the agreement Oct. 2. President Max Schoenberg said in an email the union doesn't release the vote breakdown to the district or media.
"The teachers sought an agreement that would promote a high-quality education for all students, emphasize a culture of social and emotional growth, maintain fiscal responsibility, and retain innovative and collaborative teachers," Schoenberg said in a written statement. "This agreement puts students first and provides a competitive level of compensation and benefits to help make District 205 a destination district for our talented, hardworking teachers, who continue to go above and beyond every day."