Board set to vote on custodians' contract

Board set to vote on custodians' contract

DANVILLE — While the Danville school district and its largest employee union are still in the early stages of contract negotiations, the district may be close to a deal with another union.

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/WYPGDC.

Board members will vote Wednesday on ratifying a three-year agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 AFL-CIO, which represents 51 custodians.

Under the deal, which is retroactive to July 1, custodians' base pay would rise 45 cents an hour during the current fiscal year, 30 cents an hour during the 2013-14 fiscal year and 20 cents an hour during the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Superintendent Mark Denman said the increases would cost the district an additional $44,500 each year.

Also under the contract, members would contribute to their health insurance premium for the first time. Their monthly payment would be $10 this year, $11 during the second year and $12 during the final year.

"This has never been done before in District 118," buildings and grounds Director Ron Henton, the district's chief negotiator, said of the insurance contribution. He added that most everything else would stay the same.

The district and union reached a tentative agreement Dec. 14 after meeting several times since last summer. Denman said he hopes it will be the first of several contract proposals to go to the board in the coming weeks.

Henton said the district and the union representing about 90 food-service workers also reached a tentative agreement, but union members must still vote on ratification.

Denman said the district and the Danville Education Association, which represents about 650 employees, will begin mediation next week. The two sides are bargaining one contract for teachers and teaching assistants and another for secretaries and learning-resource clerks, although the DEA has petitioned the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board to merge the units and operate under one contract.

Denman said Friday that a decision on that matter isn't expected for another month or two.

Meantime, teams negotiating the teacher/teaching assistant contract will meet with a federal mediator at 9 a.m. Jan. 22 and 24, and teams negotiating the other contract will meet with the mediator at 4 p.m. on those days.

Also at the meeting, board members will hear a proposal to raise the required credits to graduate high school from 40 to 44 over a two-year period.

"This would not affect any student currently attending Danville High School," Denman said.

Under the proposal, which is a discussion item only, the credit requirement would increase to 42 starting with the Class of 2017, which begins its freshman year next fall. The credit requirement would increase to 44 starting with the Class of 2019.

In addition, Principal Mark Neil suggested that one of the additional four credits be in science. Currently, students must have at least eight in English, six in math, five in social studies and only four in science to graduate.

Denman and Associate Superintendent Dianna Kirk said the increase is a follow-up to the school's restructuring efforts, which aim to boost academic achievement and better prepare students for college and careers, including science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, careers.

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