Sunday, November 26, 2006

D-300 agrees to deal

The following article Northwest Herald.
Referendum passes as usual the school employees win while the taxpayers and children lose.

D-300 agrees to deal

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CARPENTERSVILLE – After 10 months of negotiations, the District 300 school board approved a new four-year contract for teachers Wednesday night. The school board also approved raises for administrators and a $5,000 bonus for Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates.

Teachers and other Local Education Association District 300 union members will get a 17.4 percent raise over the span of the deal. Annual raises will come to 8.6 percent over the four years in addition to an annual step increase boost of 2.2 percent. The contract leaves open the possibility of future raises for teacher performance and student achievement.

The district estimates that it will spend $3.7 million more in teacher salaries than last year, but that figure includes 95 new teachers who were hired after the March referendums passed.

District administrators will see about a 5 percent annual raise including 1.9 percent to 2 percent step increases.

Board member Mary Warren cast the only vote against the contracts, citing philosophical differences with their retirement packages. The other members, however, said they felt comfortable defending the raises to the public.

Under both contracts, employees will pay more in health-care deductibles and co-pays, but receive annual tax-free health-reimbursement accounts ranging from $1,000 to $250.

Full-year administrators will get the $1,000 HRAs, school-year administrators will get less, and union members will get $250 annually. In the four years before their retirements, union members will get an additional $500 deposit in their HRA annually.

The accounts bear interest and can be used at any time in the employee’s lifetime.

School board President Mary Fioretti said the district was the first in the state to incorporate the tax-free funds into a teachers’ contract.

Both contracts also eliminate the 20 percent raises teachers and administrators received in their last four years of employment.

Under a new state law, districts face stiff penalties for end-of-career bonuses of more than 6 percent. Administrators and union members each will receive that maximum. The district, however, no longer will pay the fee that employees face for early retirement.

Warren said she voted against the contracts because of the four 6 percent raises for retirees.

“I firmly believe new dollars in the system do not belong in enhancing end-of-career bonuses because they do not enhance student achievement,” Warren said.

Administrators will continue to get 12 sick days a year, but union members will see an increase from 10 days to 12.

Teachers also will receive more in tuition reimbursement for continuing their educations.

Both contracts are retroactive to July 1, 2006.

Superintendent Ken Arndt’s contract will not be affected by the new deal.

The school board also unanimously approved a one-time $5,000 deposit in an HRA for Crates based on her job performance.

The contracts at a glance


– 17.4 percent raise over four years.

– Two additional sick days, bringing the total to 12.

– Four 6 percent raises in the four years preceding retirement.

– Higher medical deductibles and co-pays.

– All dental and vision premiums paid first three years, going to 80 percent in the contract’s fourth year.

– Annual deposits of $250 into a tax-free, interest-bearing health reimbursement account.

– More tuition reimbursement for continuing education.


– 5 percent annual raises for four years.

– Four 6 percent raises in the four years preceding retirement.

– Annual deposits ranging from $1,000 to $350 into a tax-free, interest-bearing health-reimbursement account.

– Higher medical deductibles and co-pays.

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