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Indian Prairie close to contract, 3 other districts in negotiations

Teacher JasSanworks with students set up their newly designed studio set GenevHigh School Monday August 13 2012. The students will

Teacher Jason Santo works with students to set up their newly designed studio set at Geneva High School on Monday, August 13, 2012. The students will be broadcast this year's football games both from home and away games. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 4, 2012 6:07AM



Teachers in the Indian Prairie School District will get a 2 percent raise this year and about a 3 percent hike next year, under a contract approved by teachers on Friday.

The School Board is expected to vote on the agreement with the teachers union, the Indian Prairie Education Association, on Tuesday.

Indian Prairie is one of just four school districts in the Fox Valley that started off the school year without a teachers contract. All of the other districts in the region have at least one year left in their contracts with teachers.

Indian Prairie Superintendent Kathy Birkett described the new agreement as a collaborative effort that takes into consideration the district’s financial challenges due to the still-sluggish economy.

Specifically, the contract calls for teachers to receive cost-of-living increases in line with inflation in exchange for a series of salary and benefit reforms, including:

The elimination or reduction of retirement health care benefits for teachers retiring under the contract.

The reduction of paid benefits for part-time tenured employees.

A freeze on stipends paid to teachers for extra duties such as coaching and clubs.

In addition, the contract includes $987,849 in savings from changes to health care benefits. The cost-of-living increases, including increases related to experience and education, will be 2.13 percent for the 2012-13 school year and 2.89 percent in 2013-14.

Val Dranias, president of the Indian Prairie Education Association, said a lot of hard work went into the contract.

“The IPEA bargaining team worked tirelessly to reach an agreement that was fair to its members and was mindful of the financial issues facing the district,” she said.

The teachers approved the contract by a margin of about 2 to 1. Now, the School Board is to vote on the contract at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

At that same meeting, the Indian Prairie School Board is also expected to vote on cost-of-living increases for administrators. The proposal includes a sunset of retirement benefits and calls for administrators to see a 2 percent increase in 2012-13 and a 2.5 percent increase in 2013-14.

Still negotiating

In Geneva, teachers and the School Board have been at the negotiating table since February and have recently moved to mediation. Teachers have been working under an expired contract since Aug. 15 — and sporting bright green shirts that read “United We Teach” to School Board meetings.

East Aurora teachers are working under an expired contract after voting down a three-year contract in May.

That contract included a $1,200 across-the-board raise and a 1.75 percent salary increase in exchange for a 15-minute extension to the school day this year and another 25 minutes next year. Teachers also said they were looking for more support from administrators and district leaders.

East Aurora spokesman Clayton Muhammad said that the district and teachers have recently concluded negotiations and the district is awaiting a vote from the union, which is slated to happen sometime in early September.

Teachers in the Oswego School District have been working under an expired contract since July 31. The district and the Oswego Teachers Association are still in negotiations.



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