District 65 Board Approves Teacher Contract
Members of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 board of education approved a new agreement with the teachers’ union that includes salary increases for all teachers and more planning time for elementary teachers.
The District 65 board of education approved a new contract with the teachers’ union at a meeting Monday night, according to district spokesperson Pat Markham.
Teachers and the board of education have been negotiating since March, and agreed to bring in a federal mediator earlier this summer. They reached a tentative agreement in late August, which the District 65 Educator’s Council ratified on Friday.
“The contract benefits our teachers, our students, parents, and the entire community,” Supt. Hardy Murphy said in a press release from the district. “It is fair to all, and represents what we believe is in the best interests of the entire Evanston/Skokie School District 65.”
The new contract covers four years beginning with the 2012-13 school year and includes pay increases, increases in teacher health insurance contributions and more planning time for elementary teachers, according to Markham.
The terms stipulate that all teachers who move up to the next pay level, or step, will receive a 1.5 percent bonus, while those at the top of the pay scale will receive a 2 percent bonus in the first year. In the second and third years, teachers will receive a 1.5 percent salary increase on top of the step increase, and in the fourth year, teachers will receive a 1.75 percent salary increase in addition to step.
“The terms also include modest increases in teacher health insurance contributions,” Markham said in a press release.
Teachers and administrators have clashed over the board’s plan to cut fine arts teachers and share the remaining teachers among schools. The cuts would mean each student received the same amount of fine arts instruction, while teachers have less planning time.
Under the new contract, middle school teachers may volunteer to teach an extra period for an additional stipend, while elementary school teachers will be guaranteed more planning time, according to Markham.