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District 300 Modifies Contract; LEAD 300 to Meet Sunday

The district modified its final offers to address middle school and high school class sizes and salary.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated District 300 "ratified" its final offers. This is incorrect. District 300 recently "modified" its final offers. Patch.com apologizes for this error. 

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Following the most recent bargaining sessions this past week, District 300 modified its final offers as a part of ongoing contract negotiations. 

LEAD 300, District 300's teachers' union, is expected to meet on Sunday to discuss the continued contract negotiations. 

The earliest teachers could strike is this Tuesday. On Nov. 20, teachers filed a "notice of intent to strike," which gives them the authorization to set a strike date but does not necessarily mean they will strike. 

The new offers address high school and middle school class size — a continued sticking point for LEAD 300, which hadn't been addressed in earlier offers. The new offer did not put a cap size on classes, which is what LEAD 300 President Kolleen Hanetho  said in a Thursday interview teachers were hoping for. 

"They want to measure it on average classroom size ... our proposal has said all along that we need to set caps for classrooms for the high school level," Hanetho said in the Thursday interview. 

The new offers does set an average class size of 31 students for high school and middle school classrooms, excluding Physical Education and music.

Ten teachers will be added both at the middle school and high school level to accomplish this. And the high school class schedule will change to nine periods.

The new offer also provides a slight salary increase for teachers compared to the district's original offer. All are step increases, which is a salary increase based on the length of time a teacher has been employed in the district. 

The district is now offering its teachers a 3 percent salary increase for the 2012-2013 school year, up from 2.75 percent in its original offer; a 2 percent increase for the 2013-2014 school year, which is the same as its original offer; and a 3 percent increase for the 2014-2015 school year, an increase over the 2.5 percent increase in the original offer. 

Other parts of the modified final offers include: 

  • Placing non-certified nurses on a salary schedule, with the following pay increases: 2012-2013: 5% salary increase (placement on the new salary schedule); 2013-2014: 2% salary increase (including step); and 2014-2015: 3% salary increase (including step). 

Class Size/Working Conditions

The Board modified its proposal to include the addition of approximately 44 teachers next year in order to reduce class sizes and improve teacher working conditions. The Board proposed the following:

  • At the elementary level, add approximately 24 teachers
  • The maximum number of students per class (K-2) will be 28
  • The maximum number of students per class (3-5) will be 31

Retirement

The Board modified its proposal regarding the phase-out of the retirement incentive. The incentive would expire at the end of this contract. The Board proposed the following:

  • 2012/2013: 6% increase over creditable earnings for each of the four years prior to retirement
  • 2013/2014: 3% increase over base salary for each of the four years prior to retirement
  • 2014/2015: 3% increase over base salary for each of the four years prior to retirement

Insurance

The Board maintained the proposal discussed with LEAD 300 on November 20, 2012. The Board proposed the following:

  • No change to overall insurance benefits, with the exception that if the annual increase to insurance costs is projected to exceed 14%, then the Insurance Committee shall meet to determine plan design changes; if the committee does not agree on design changes, the Board and employees enrolled in the plan will split 50/50 any increase over 14%.
  • Currently, certified staff (including administrators)  receive the following benefit
    • Single coverage: Board pays 80%, employee pays 20%
    • Family coverage: Board pays 70%, employee pays 30%

National Board Certification

The Board modified its proposal regarding additional compensation to teachers in possession of National Board Certification. For teachers currently holding National Board Certification, the Board proposed phasing out the extra pay of 7% of their annual salary. The Board proposed the following:

  • 2012-2013: extra pay of 6% of annual salary
  • 2013-2014: extra pay of 5% of annual salary
  • 2014-2015: extra pay of 2.5% of annual salary
  • For teachers that achieve National Board Certification after 2012, they will receive an annual stipend of $1,200

Source: District 300 press release

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