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.