Board of Education and Faculty Senate Approve New Contract

February 19, 2019

(Feb. 19, 2019) — The District 200 Board of Education and the OPRFHS Faculty Senate have reached agreement on a new four-year teacher contract. Both Faculty Senate and the Board voted to approve the contract earlier today.

In a joint statement, Board President Dr. Jackie Moore and Faculty Senate Chair Sheila Hardin said, “The Board of Education and the Faculty Senate are very pleased to announce that we have reached agreement on a new teacher contract. This agreement is the product of tireless efforts by the two negotiating teams. Over the past 12 months, they spent dozens of hours bargaining in good faith to reach an agreement that recognizes the efforts of our excellent teaching staff while also controlling long-term costs to the District. We are proud that the new contract achieves both those goals. Thank you to the teams for their diligence in coming to an agreement that supports our mission of achieving excellence and equity for all students.”

The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2018, when the previous contract expired, and runs through June 30, 2022. The Board honored all terms of the previous contract and faculty worked without disruption to salary until a new agreement could be reached. Key components of the new contract include:

Compensation
Significant changes have been made to address long-term growth in costs. Altering the previous salary structure was a priority for the District, and the new agreement achieves that by eliminating what are called steps and lanes to calculate salary increases. Under previous contracts, salary increases contained two components: (1) a flat, or step, increase for each additional year of service and (2) an annual negotiated percent increase in salary. The previous structure also had eight lanes that provided salary increases for every 15 additional hours of graduate-level coursework.

The new salary structure, described below,  fairly compensates teachers while also being fiscally responsible to taxpayers. It will reduce the overall annual rate of wage scale-related salary growth from 3.0% over the past 10 years to 1.83% over the span of the new contract. Minimum salaries for each salary level have been increased by $1,000 per year to assure the District maintains highly competitive introductory salaries, while top salaries for each level have been capped, with those caps increasing by 1% per year.

Under the new agreement:

  • Faculty members receive a flat increase of $3,600 in each of the four years of the contract, replacing the combined step-plus-negotiated-rate increases.

  • Teachers will receive a retroactive, prorated payment for the 2018-2019 increase.

  • Each teacher will receive a one-time bonus of $3,000 to be paid with the retroactive payment; the bonus will not be added to base salary.

  • In addition to the elimination of steps, the new salary schedule replaces the prior eight lanes with four levels. Movement from one level to a higher pay level is in recognition of the efforts made by teachers toward continuing professional growth and development by completing pre-approved graduate programs of study/professional development/leadership development activities. This provision takes effect in the fourth year of the contract (the 2021-2022 school year), allowing teachers time to earn any hours necessary to remain at a higher pay level. The four levels are:

    • Level I – bachelor’s degree

    • Level II – master’s degree

    • Level III – master’s plus 30 hours of graduate work/equivalent professional development

    • Level IV – master’s degree plus 60 hours of graduate work/equivalent professional development

  • New hires with prior public school teaching experience may be credited with a maximum of five years of previous teaching experience. Additional years may be credited at the discretion of the superintendent.

New advisory period
Advisories enhance social-emotional learning and school climate as students develop consistent, long-term student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships. In an advisory period, the same group of students meets with the same teacher for their entire four years of high school.

  • The professional teaching day has been extended from 240 to 250 minutes of instructional time. The 250 minutes includes supervision of a new 15-minute advisory period each day (except on days with an altered schedule, such as late-arrival days).

  • The school day still will comprise eight standard class periods, which will be 47 minutes long instead of the current 48. Dismissal will be at 3:11 p.m. instead of 3:04.

Benefits
The contract eliminates a 30-day sick leave benefit for pregnant women that was in addition to maternity and paternity leave that all employees are entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act FMLA). Teachers are now able to use up to 12 weeks of accumulated sick time in conjunction with FMLA.

To rein in costs and slow down spending on health insurance premiums, the new contract provides incentives for employees to opt for one of the District’s lower-cost health insurance plans instead of the PPO-with-low-deductible plan (PPO-low). The latter is the most expensive plan for the District to administer and in many cases over-insures employees who are healthy and don’t require such an abundant level of coverage.

  • Starting in the 2019-2020 school year the District will underwrite the cost of the PPO-with-low-deductible plan at a rate of 89% for single coverage and 83% for dependent coverage. For all other plans, the District will continue to underwrite at a rate of 92% for single coverage and 86% for dependent coverage.

  • To encourage current employees to move from the PPO-low plan to any other available plan and any new hires to elect any health plan besides the PPO-low, a one-time incentive of $1,500 for single coverage and $3,000 for dependent coverage will be offered. Employees who receive the cash incentive will not be able to move back to the PPO-low plan in subsequent years of the contract.

Retirement incentive
The agreement sunsets the provision that allowed faculty to receive annual base salary increases of 6% in the final five years prior to retirement.

  • In exchange for committing to a retirement track, eligible teachers may receive annual creditable earning increases of 3% for up to a maximum of five years prior to retirement. These annual increases replace the $3,600 flat increase described above, in the section on compensation.

  • Alternatively, an eligible teacher may instead opt to receive a one-time lump sum retirement incentive payment. For faculty members with less than 25 years of full-time equivalent service, the lump sum payment is $100 for each of the first 15 years of full-time equivalent service in the District and $200 for each year of the next nine years, up to a maximum of 24 years. For faculty with 25 or more years, the lump sum payment is $110 for each of the first 15 years of full-time equivalent service in the District and $220 for each of the next 20 years, up to a maximum of 35 years.

  • Additionally, any faculty member who retires no later than the first year he or she is eligible will also receive a lump-sum of $15,000.