Here’s the press release about the teachers’ contract which the Cary School Board ratified last night:
District 26 Board Ratifies Teacher Contract
November 1, 2011
The Board of Education of Cary Community Consolidated School District 26 announced today that they have ratified a tentative agreement with the Cary Education Association (CEA) addressing all issues related to a new collective bargaining agreement.
The new three-year agreement calls for:
- Reduction in teacher compensation by 3% in the 2011-2012 school year and a pay freeze in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. Teachers will be permitted to change lanes and “move horizontally” on the salary schedule by taking additional course work during the contract but will not receive automatic “step” or longevity increases.
- A change in the employee insurance program. Previously, the Board paid 100% of single coverage and between 20% and 50% of family coverage depending on a teacher’s years of service in the district. Under the new agreement, the Board will pay 50% of single coverage, and between 10% and 40% of family coverage depending upon a teacher’s experience in the district.
- The school day for students has been lengthened from 5 hours and 45 minutes last year to 6 hours and 15 minutes under this new agreement. Student instructional time will be increased by 30 minutes a day over last year’s amounts. The parties expect to transition to a new daily schedule corresponding to the change in the school day after the Thanksgiving holiday.
- The tuition reimbursement program under the previous collective bargaining agreement has been eliminated from the new contract.
- The retirement program under previous contract has been eliminated. Under previous agreements, eligible employees could receive up to four years of 6% increases in their last years of employment; up to $20,000 in lump sum payments following retirement; and up to $10 a day for unused sick leave.
At the start of this school year the Board had imposed contract terms for the 2011-2012 school year which provided for reductions in pay and in the insurance program greater than those agreed to as outlined above.
Through a series of meetings with a federal mediator after the start of the school year, however, the parties were able to reach agreement on all economic and language issues for a three-year contract.
The parties expect to finalize the contract language and execute an agreement as soon as possible.
Chris Spoerl, the Board President, said,
“These negotiations have taken a long time to complete — since November 2010 in fact – in large measure because of the very serious financial challenges faced by the district. These were not easy labor talks but the board is confident that the new agreement will help put the district on a more stable financial ground for the next three years.”
This contract is historic. I kid you not.
This contract is a significantly better value for the taxpayer and the students will receive additional instruction. Just think of how much taxpayer money has been spent on increasing teacher pay during this severe economic recession under the previous collective bargaining agreement.
There were significant events which made this collective bargaining agreement possible. You can thank your legislators who voted for Senate Bill 7 (education reform) in 2011 which provided new tools for Cary District 26 Board and Administration to negotiate this agreement with the Union and Teachers.
All McHenry County State Senators and Representatives voted for Senate Bill 7.
The only House Representative or Senator to vote against Senate Bill 7 was Rep. Monique Davis, a Chicago Democrat, who is a former a teacher and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools, former coordinator for the Chicago Board of Education, and former training specialist with the Chicago City Colleges.
Absent from that Senate Bill 7 vote were four Cook County Democrats: Rep. William Burns (D-Chicago), Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago), Rep. Harry Osterman (D-Chicago), and Rep. Al Riley (D-Hazel Crest) – Cook County.
Not voting on Senate Bill 7 were five Senators: Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago), Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-Moline), Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), Sen. John Millner (R-St. Charles), and Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago).
One of the benefits of Senate Bill 7 is that the Board can declare an impasse, and both sides submit final offers to a federal mediator and to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. The final offers are then available for the public to view on the the IELRB website.
That came to fruition in the Cary District 26 negotiations.
Select “Impasse Final Offers”.
However, teacher pay will automatically increase upon successful completion of college classes. Thus there is not a salary freeze. There is a partial salary freeze. There are some nuances to the salary increase, such as a minimum number of credit hours need to be completed at a mimum grade.
Let’s look at the language which enables the teachers to achieve the salary increases.
“Teachers will be permitted to change lanes and ‘move horizontally’ on the salary schedule by taking additional course work during the contract but will not receive automatic ‘step’ or longevity increases.”
Do you see the words “salary increase” in that sentence?
Let’s keep their verbiage but insert the words “salary increase”, and make it two sentences so it is easier to digest.
Teachers will be permitted to increase salary (by changing lanes and ‘moving horizontally’) on the salary schedule by taking additional course work during the contract. Teachers will not receive salary increases (step or longetivity increases) for remaining employed an additional year.
Does that more clearly drive the point home how your taxpayer money is to be spent?
With this new contract, taxpayers no longer pay for the classes that increase teacher pay. Teachers will have to pay for classes that increase teacher pay.
Unions fight for teacher pay to increase upon successful completion of college classes, because college classes are typically taught by union professors, resulting in more union jobs.
Let’s say a teacher is teaching Johnny in 3rd grade. Just because the teacher
completes a college class, does that mean Johnny will learn more? Does that mean the teacher is more effective? In fact it might hurt Johnny because the time the teacher is using to study for the class could be used to contemplate how to improve Johnny’s performance. Or the time used studying for the class could instead be used by sitting down with Johnny and giving him specific one-on-one instruction before or after school. Instead of taxpayer dollars used to directly benefit Johnny, they are being used to instruct teachers, hoping that Johnny will be indirectly benefitted. Really if a teacher has been teaching for 15 years, how much is class after class after college class going to assist that teacher in instructing Johnny? There may be some instances in which a college class is beneficial, but just to blanketly allow teachers to increase salary by taking class after class without seeing how that improves student performance is an antiquated methodology.
There are some things in the works to improve this situation, such as Senate Bill 7 (education reform),
Since the current contract is not yet available, here is the path to previous contracts in which you can see the pay increases for which you have been paying.
In teacher language, the words “lane”, “horizontally”, “step”, and “longevity” are all synonyms for “pay increase.”
The path to the previous years’ collective bargaining agreements is:
http://www.cary26.org > Board of Education > Negotiated Contracts