Danville schools food workers contract up for vote

Danville schools food workers contract up for vote

DANVILLE — School food service workers could be working under a new contract later this week.

The school board on Wednesday will vote on whether to ratify a three-year deal with the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 399, AFL-CIO, which represents about 90 kitchen helpers and assistant managers.

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/14jhSaf.

The district and union reached a tentative agreement on Jan. 7, and union members approved it on Jan. 17.

Under the contract, which would be retroactive to July 1, members' base pay would increase 60 cents an hour this year, 25 cents an hour during the second year and 20 cents an hour during the third year, Superintendent Mark Denman said.

Also, the contract would add an additional level to kitchen helpers' salary schedule after two years of service. It also would add an additional level to assistant managers' schedule between their first and fourth year of service and also between their fifth and ninth year of service.

And all members who are eligible for health insurance would begin contributing to their individual coverage. They would pay $10 a month this year, $11 a month during the second year and $12 a month during the third year.

Denman said the increases would cost the district an additional $28,785 each year.

Earlier this month, the board signed off on a three-year contract with the custodial union. The district is still negotiating two contracts with its largest union, the Danville Education Association.

During negotiations with a federal mediator on Thursday, the two sides agreed to form a task force to study health insurance costs and possible cost-saving strategies in an effort to resolve one of the biggest stumbling blocks to reaching a settlement.

The subcommittee will hold its first study session on Jan. 30, and report its findings and recommendations to the negotiating teams on Feb. 26. Then both sides will resume talks with the mediator on March 4 and 7.

Also at the meeting, the board will vote on whether to approve a recommendation to increase the required credits to graduate from high school from 40 to 44 over a two-year period.

Under the proposal, the credit requirement would increase to 42 starting with the Class of 2017, which begin their freshman year next fall. The credit requirement would increase to 44 starting with the Class of 2019.

One of the additional credits would have to be in science, which would give students another semester in that area. Currently, students must have at least eight in English, six in math, five in social studies and only four in science to graduate.

Officials said students have been earning more credits since freshmen were required to attend an extra period each day since the school started its restructuring plan. They also said beefing up graduation requirements will better prepare students for college and careers, including science, technology, engineering and math careers.

In other business, the board will recognize three teachers who are in their 40th year of teaching. They are: Leola Davis, a fourth-grade teacher at Northeast Elementary Magnet School; Stephanie Wiggam, a third-grade teacher at Cannon Elementary; and Linda Parson, a teaching assistant at the high school.

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