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D181, teachers sign new four-year deal


Last updated 11/20/2019 at 4:56pm | View PDF

Teachers in Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 have a new four-year contract that raises salaries an average of 2.55 percent over the four years.

The District 181 Board approved the contract unanimously Monday night, with the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Teachers Association ratifying it Nov. 1. The previous three-year contract expired in June, and negotiating teams began meeting months before that.

“It’s been a year,” school board President Bill Merchantz said. “It’s been a long and winding road, and I think the result is a great win-win-win for the district, for the teachers and for students.”

The contract retains teachers’ status as among the highest-paid elementary educators in the state, Merchantz said, which is important to attract and retain excellent professionals who deliver a high-quality education. That was not the board’s only objective in negotiations, he noted.

“We made sure we as a board were fairly considering all the needs of the district,” he said, with a focus on long-term financial stability.

In a district press release, HCHTA President Sarah Hoffman said the union, which represents the 361 teachers in the district, takes great pride in the collaborative relationship it has developed with the board over the years.

“This contract is a result of our shared commitment with the district to retain and attract top-notch educators in our ongoing efforts to provide a high-quality educational experience for all students,” she stated.

Increases to the salary schedule average 2 percent the first year and 2.9, 2.7 and 2.6 percent in years two, three and four, respectively.

“It’s not a flat percentage for everyone on the salary schedule,” John Munch, assistant superintendent for human resources, said Tuesday. “It’s a varied percentage depending on where they are in their career.”

Teachers also are eligible to earn additional compensation by moving to a higher “lane” for completing post-graduate credit hours or degrees. The contract has nine lanes — bachelor’s degree, BA+15, BA+45, master’ degree, MA+15, MA+24, MA+30, MA+45 and doctorate.

The starting salary in the district for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience remains unchanged for all four years of the contract at $50,871, up just slightly from $50,492 in 2018-19. The highest salary, for a teacher with a doctorate degree and 30 years of experience, will increase from $120,171 in 2018-19 to $124,621 in 2022-23.

Teacher salaries cost the district $28.5 million in 2018-19. That number will rise to $31.5 million in 2022-23.

Some structural changes were made to help contain long-term costs, Munch explained in an email. The master’s degree plus 45 hours lane is closed to those who have not already started advance coursework to move into it. The district also now has discretion in where to place new hires on the salary schedule instead of being bound to give credit for up to five years of experience.

Teachers will continue to pay 25 percent of the premium for family health insurance and 18 percent of the premium for single coverage.

Health insurance costs for HCHTA were $3.37 million, with that number expected to increase 6 percent each year over the length of the contract, Munch said.

Full-time teachers also receive vision insurance, dental insurance, life insurance/accidental death and dismemberment benefits and long-term disability insurance. The contract continues to provide 17 to 23 sick days a year, depending on the teacher’s level of experience.

Board member Nate Lucht, who with Merchantz and Margie Kleber represented the board on the district negotiating team, thanked everyone involved for the healthy dialogue, constructive debate and creative solutions. He also praised the administrators serving on the team — Munch, Superintendent Hector Garcia and CFO Mohsin Dada.

“I know that a big part of the reason why we got to the great outcome for all parties that we did is because of the hard work that you put in and the personality that you brought to it,” he said to Munch. “So a really heartfelt thank you from me for all that you did.”

“Me too,” Kleber chimed in.

Author Bio

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext. 104


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