Updated: Champaign school board, teachers union approve new one-year contract

Updated: Champaign school board, teachers union approve new one-year contract

Updated at 10:10 p.m. Monday.

CHAMPAIGN — Teachers in the Champaign schools are now working under contract.

Both the Champaign school board and the union that represents the teachers have approved the teachers' new one-year contract.

The Champaign school board passed the contract 6-0 at its Monday meeting. Board member Ileana Saveley was absent.

The teachers ratified the contract Monday afternoon, before the school board meeting.

The contract allows for a 1.4 percent raise for teachers still receiving step increases, which are increases in pay for years of experience and more education.

It allows for a 3 percent increase for teachers who are no longer on the salary schedule, which will cost the school district about 3 percent more than last year's salaries, said Ken Kleber, Champaign schools' executive director of human resources.

The school district will also pay for teachers' individual health insurance and make contributions to the Teachers Retirement System on the teachers' behalf.

"It's a fair contract," said Champaign Federation of Teachers Cathy Mannen, who said she could not comment on what percentage of teachers approved it.

Board President Sue Grey said she's glad to have the contract approved.

"I'm glad we've gotten over this hump and we're moving on," Grey said during Monday's meeting. She said she believes the pay increase in the contract is "very fair to our teachers."

The teachers' union and school district started bargaining last April and had been working with a federal mediator since August. They'd taken a strike-authorization vote in early October, but both sides reached a tentative contract Oct. 15.

Because it's a one-year contract, Mannen said, she expected negotiations to begin again next spring.

In other business, the board also approved the design fee for an alternative design to possibly add two more classrooms when it renovates Bottenfield Elementary next year.

The design fees came in at $47,600, which is far lower than estimated when the school board decided it wanted to proceed with the design of the two extra classrooms. Last Monday, Cannon Design estimated the design cost would be about $215,000.

The alternative of adding two classrooms would cost about $661,000, which is also lower than estimates Stuart Brodsky of Cannon Design gave the school board heard earlier this month. Then, he estimated the alternative option could cost $1.05 million to $1.25 million.

The board will have to make a final decision this spring about whether to add the two classrooms to the already-planned renovation at the school next year. The school board is discussing the possible addition because enrollment is up in the school district.


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Sid Saltfork wrote on October 22, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Why a one year contract?  Why not a three year contract?  Why go thru all of this again next spring?  Will anything change dramatically in less than three years?  The only one benefiting is the federal mediator.

Meg Dickinson wrote on October 23, 2012 at 10:10 am
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The school district wanted the one-year contract in April, according to the timeline released by the union and published in this story.

I can't say this is definitely why, but the school district and its officials are often talking about concerns about state and federal funding, as well as changes to the pension system. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty in those areas.

- Meg

cretis16 wrote on October 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

WOW...free 100% paid health care.....gotta be a property tax buster.

thelowedown wrote on October 24, 2012 at 1:10 am

To get something like that you give something up else, namely better salaries

nick wrote on October 23, 2012 at 10:10 am

Meg,thanks for the explanation. The attorney for the school district will benefit from the negotiations beginning again in the spring. The cost of the  federal mediator is much less in terms of tax dollar cost. The teachers who negotiate receive no compensation.

aantulov wrote on October 24, 2012 at 11:10 am


I would hope school I.D.'s have made the agenda.-Never before has data management and instant identification card making computerized machines been so effective and  inexpensive.  The are proven effective tools to simplify complex issues of safety and finance.  Yet each middle and high school Champaign still are unable to provide cards in a timely matter rendering the entire effort ineffective.  Each semester instead of week where one does not “have to have a card”, the period has been up to two months. That’s two months, face to face issues of who gets subsidized breakfast, lunch, libraries access, services in general, admittance to events, in fact officials have no way on insuring that bullies from other schools are on not their premises besides diligent guess work. And teens experience doubt and chaos in what should be a smooth interaction, damaging their self esteem and faith in those in authority.These archaic methods may have worked well in the past when the school demographic was constant, but this community has been getting the indigent from big cities daily. As more enter, anyone who can leave the public schools does. Dedicated teachers and school officials have been operating as best the can with what they have been given.This community has also been getting “developers” arriving on private jets building apartments to collect steady “section 8” rents.  And, building skyscrapers with luxuries with DECADES long tax breaks.  This is why your property taxes are going up, and services down.Since money is the only solution to this problem, please let me point out that having school kids carry a card with pride in the picture has infinite marketing to get kids to shop in certain stores, and brand familiarity. Certainly looking at “Coca Cola” or “JC Penny” every day has an affect.Could one of the millionaires passing thru town give us back a small portion of the tax dollars they have not paid by providing each middle and high school with a state of the art identification system?  Does not one feel it a good idea to have the statement “Buy made in USA” on the back of every card used daily by the next generations?