School District 64 and teachers reach four-year agreement;
CPI-tied raises shift salary growth onto a sustainable path
(Updated September 27, 2016 following Board of Education ratification)
Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 and the Park Ridge Education Association (PREA), the professional organization that represents the District’s teachers, have reached agreement on a new, four-year contract, 2016-17 through 2019-20. This is the second consecutive four-year agreement between the PREA and the Board of Education.
The PREA membership voted to ratify the contract on September 22, 2016; the Board of Education officially approved the agreement at its September 26, 2016 meeting.
The agreement will add less than $1 million per year on average to the District’s expenditures for teacher salaries, for a total accumulated expenditure of $3.8 million over the four-year life of the contract.
“The new contract places District 64 on a much more sustainable economic path. The contract balances the high goals we have set to accelerate improvements in terms of student learning, safety and security, with prudent stewardship of the limited local taxpayer dollars that reflect both the current economic conditions in the Park Ridge-Niles community and Illinois in general,” according to Board President Tony Borrelli.
“Additionally, I am extremely proud of how collaboratively the Board of Education worked together to identify areas that could benefit students and gain consensus around the priority goals found within this contract,” he added.
"The recently ratified 4-year contract between the Park Ridge Education Association and the District 64 School Board provides many benefits to the community, students, and teachers. The new agreement assures a fiscally sound school district for years to come. New language in the contract ensures that the integrity of student/teacher contact time cannot be diminished,” according to PREA President Erin Breen.
“Finally, a fair compensation package will make Park Ridge a continued destination of choice for excellent teachers. It was a win-win-win for all stakeholders,” she added.
“As a balanced agreement, we believe the contract is respectful of the rigorous demands made on our teaching professionals challenged with implementing 21st century learning standards, integration of technology and the District’s 2020 Vision Strategic Plan, while also recognizing the pressing financial challenges the District and taxpayers will face to complete costly yet critical repairs of our aging school buildings to ensure they remain safe and secure environments conducive to learning,” Superintendent Laurie Heinz noted.
“The previous 2012-16 contract helped restore District 64 as a desirable District to attract and retain highly qualified teachers and staff due to our competitive salary schedule within the north suburban Cook and Lake county areas,“ Chief School Business Official Luann Kolstad reported. “For this contract, the goal was to moderate that growth to a sustainable and affordable path,” she added.
For the first time, base salary increases are tied to CPI-U, which is the same percentage used in the District’s annual Tax Levy, with a floor of 1.5% and ceiling of 3.25%. The CPI-U is known for the first two years of the contract, so the use of the 1.5% floor is being invoked for both years. The remaining two years will be set once the CPI-U is established by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics during each respective year.
In addition, the contract continues to provide “step” increases that vary based on a teacher’s experience and education, however, the “steps” have been stretched out so that teachers will advance at a slower pace.
All-in, the total salary increase over the 4 years of the agreement averages 2.71% per year, assuming a base increase of 1.5% for each of the 4 years plus the new, lower annual “step” increases.
Employees also will continue to share in the cost of their health and dental insurance coverage, including sharing in any cost increases.
Negotiations were initiated in December 2015, with a total of 16 sessions held in all. All Board members participated in caucus sessions for financial considerations, which allowed negotiations to move forward in a timely manner.
Additionally, the contract itself was streamlined to incorporate past “side letters” of understanding, jettison confusing language, and reflect all current practices. Stipends paid for extra responsibilities also were restructured, and a voluntary early retirement plan was added.
District 64 employs about 395 full-time equivalent teachers; about 85 percent have master’s degrees or above and two-thirds have 11 or more years of experience. The District serves more than 4,400 students in grades preK-8 at five elementary schools, two middle schools, and an early childhood center.