SD 218, teachers union at contract impasse
STAFF REPORTS July 27, 2012 3:12PM
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:21AM
The Community High School District 218 Board and the union representing the district’s teachers have reached an impasse in negotiations on a new four-year contract, according to a news release issued Friday by the district.
It says salaries and health care expenses are the main sticking points. The school board has offered average raises of 2.5 percent each year for the next four years, while the union seeks raises that total 15.4 percent over four years, or about 3.5 percent per year on average, according to district officials.
They said their proposal will increase salaries by $3.2 million over four years, while the union’s proposal would increase them by $5.2 million.
Bradley Wright, president of Illinois Education Association Local 218, said the two sides haven’t met since July 9 and the board declared the impasse. He said union officials will meet with teachers early this week to evaluate the district’s offer and hope to meet with district negotiators after that.
“Our offer is nothing unreasonable,” Wright said. “It’s well within the district budget. It won’t cause the district to raise taxes.”
In the District 218 news release, Supt. John Byrne said teachers “experienced a 40 percent raise” during the 2008-12 contract, which was settled just before the economy crashed.
On health care costs, both sides tentatively have agreed that employee contributions toward coverage will rise from 15 percent to 20 percent over the four years of the contract, but co-pays that could affect the district budget by $500,000 per year still are being negotiated, the district said. It said co-pays and deductibles have not been adjusted in nine years, and total health costs are more than $13 million per year.
District 218 includes Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Shepard High School in Palos Heights and the Summit and Delta learning centers in Robbins. The school year is scheduled to begin with a freshman-only day Aug. 20.
For an explanation of both sides’ offers, visit www2.illinois.gov/elrb/Pages/FinalOffers.aspx.