D86 support staff get new three-year deal

Support staff, administrators and board members in Hinsdale High School District 86 hope a new three-year contract will help the district fill positions to support students.

The contract, approved May 22 by the Hinsdale Township High School Support Staff Association and May 25 by the board, lists a new hire rate of $18.50 for paraprofessionals and student supervisors and $40 for 1-to-1 nurses. All current employees will have their pay increased to at least these rates.

Negotiations took place a year early, as the previous contract didn’t expire until 2024, Cheryl Moore, assistant superintendent of human resources, told The Hinsdalean.

“We did that because we saw a need to increase the hourly rate,” she said. “We’re fine at the (school) average, but the problem is McDonald’s is now paying $20 an hour.”

All school districts are struggling to fill paraprofessional positions, he said.

“We acknowledged that and wanted to address it rather than wait another whole year,” she said.

The new rate represents a minimum 5 percent increase, Moore said. Stipends that have been paid for longevity, education and other reasons have been rolled into employees’ hourly rates. After those adjustments, any rate that was below $18.50 was increased to $18.50, Moore said.

The contract calls for a new job category called personal care assistant that will feature a $2/hour differential for those who are assigned to serve in the role a minimum of 60 percent of the day for at least a full semester. These are individuals who work with students who need physical assistance with tasks such as eating and toileting, Moore said.

The cost structure for medical and dental insurance will be aligned with provisions of the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association contract. The agreement also calls for 10 sick days and four personal days a year, up from eight and two, respectively, and modifications to allow for a 50-minute lunch to align with students’ new schedule next year.

A press release issued by the district said the board, administration and association recognize the critical role support staff play in the success of schools and students.

“We want to thank the members of the negotiating teams for the collegiality and collaborative spirit they have exhibited throughout this process,” the release states. “We also want to acknowledge and celebrate the strong partnership that exists between our groups. It is through this partnership that we will continue to advance the important work that is shaping the future of our schools and helping our students learn, grow and lead.”

Board member Debbie Levinthal, who was on the negotiating team, also described the process as collaborative.

“I’m happy that this is before us tonight,” she said.

The contract runs through June 30, 2026.

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean