LaGrange Highlands District 106 approves new contract with teachers
Updated: August 27, 2012 6:07AM
LAGRANGE HIGHLANDS — The teachers of LaGrange Highlands Elementary District 106 will continue to get raises until 2015.
The District 106 School Board approved a new three-year contract with the union representing the district’s teachers.
For 2013, teachers will get a 3 percent salary increase. In 2014 and 2015 they will get a 3.5 percent salary raise.
Comparatively, the old contract gave teachers 5 percent raises each year for the last 5 years.
School Board President Tom Hinshaw said he is glad the district came to an agreement with the teacher’s union, which calls its self the Highlands Association of Teachers Council, AFT-Local 604, AFL-CIO.
“I think any time you talk about money, the word contention, whether there’s a lot or a little, there’s some contention,” Hinshw said. “I think it was fairly amicable, as opposed to contentious.”
Hinshaw said teachers understood times have changed.
Superintendent Robert Dyer said the contract also calls for teachers to begin sharing the cost of their health insurance.
“In the second year of the contract the teachers will start paying a small percentage toward their individual health coverage,” Dyer said.
Before this new contract the district was paying 100 percent of an individual teacher’s health insurance costs and 60 percent for family coverage. Now, the teachers will be paying $20 per pay check for individual health insurance.
There are no changes to teachers’ sick leave or personal time.
The school district also chose to freeze the pay teachers get for helping with extra-curricular activities.
“We froze that pay scale because we need to do a deeper study to see what practices are in districts around us,” Dyer said.
Also, the district has frozen the amount of money it pays teachers who receive graduate-level school credits.
“Every time (teachers) take a graduate course, they would receive an additional stipend,” Dyer said.
The previous contract called for that stipend to increase each year. In the new contract, the stipend stays the same each year.
To approve the contract the union mailed copies of it to teachers, who then voted via mail. On July 17 the union ratified the contract.
“Because we wrapped up the negotiations at the very end of the school year (the teachers’ union) didn’t have a chance to have a big meeting like they normaly would,” Dyer said.
The district did not make a copy of the new contract available to the public even after the board voted on it. Dyer said the district prefers to have lawyers for both the union and the school district create a final draft of the contract before the public can see it.