The Board of Education of Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 has ratified its first collective bargaining agreement with secretarial, custodial and maintenance employees represented by the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT). The new organization of about 75 employees is named the District 64 Support Staff Council (SSC).
The SSC membership voted to ratify the contract on January 27, 2018; the Board of Education officially approved the agreement at its February 26, 2018 regular meeting.
The new, three-year agreement will be retroactive to July 1, 2017. The term is aligned with agreements in place with teachers represented by the Park Ridge Education Association (PREA) and assistants represented by the Park Ridge Teacher Assistants Association (PRTAA). All three will now run through the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year.
“Negotiations spanned almost a year due to a lengthy summer hiatus and the array of topics that needed to be memorialized in the inaugural agreement,” according to Board President Anthony Borrelli. Borrelli, along with Board member Mark Eggemann, served as the Board’s representatives to the negotiating team and provided frequent updates and input from the Board as negotiations progressed.
“We are very pleased that consistent with our recent agreements with teachers and teaching assistants, this new contract links the growth of our expenses to CPI-U,” President Borrelli noted.
“This clearly benefits taxpayers by helping make the District’s operations sustainable further into the future, while acknowledging the important role our support staff play in ensuring the smooth operation of our District.” he added.
Similar to recent contracts for teachers and teaching assistants, the base increase for each year is now tied to the Consumer Price Index All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which is the same percentage used in the District’s annual tax levy, with a floor of 1.5% and a ceiling of 3.25%, according to Luann Kolstad, District 64’s Chief School Business Official. The base increases for the three year term of the contract will be: 1.5% in 2017-18 (CPI-U 0.7%), and 2.1% in both 2018-19 and 2019-20 (CPI-U 2.1% for both years).
Support staff members also will receive an additional one percent (1%) increase for receiving an “Excellent” final rating on their annual performance evaluation, CSBO Kolstad noted. For the 2017-18 year only, each bargaining member will also receive a one-time $300 stipend. The new agreement will add approximately $252,000 to the District’s expenditures over the three-year life of the contract.
Negotiations were initiated in February 2017, with a total of 11 sessions held in all. A federal mediator was added in October to facilitate non-binding mediation as the final wage issues were addressed.
“Although it was a long year of negotiations, the communication was excellent as we worked to create our first contract as a union,” SSC Co-Presidents Rene Eggleston and Jason Borst stated. “We are thankful to our negotiations team and to the District’s team for working together successfully through this process, and we hope that this positive communication between us will continue going forward,” they added.
According to District 64 Superintendent Laurie Heinz, “Our support staff members are critical members of our District 64 team, who work hard to make sure our school environments support learning and that our school and District offices are welcoming and function smoothly.”
Dr. Heinz added that this agreement "reflects the positive outlook and professionalism they bring to their work in support of our educational mission.”
District 64 serves about 4,600 students in grades K-8 at five elementary schools, two middle schools, and an early childhood center.