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D202 Board approves contract with teachers; D65 still talking

A new four-year contract that includes a pay raise and a wellness component was approved Monday night by the District 202 School Board with the Teachers Council that represents Evanston Township High School faculty.

Meanwhile, the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board, which began negotiating with the District Education Council in March, is continuing to meet over the summer in hopes of reaching an agreement before teachers report for work at the end of August.

Leaders for both the District 202 administration and the faculty group lauded their new contract as one that acknowledges the weak fiscal environment.

Superintendent Eric Witherspoon characterized the agreement as “a fair and affordable settlement during tight economic times” that will preserve the school’s faculty and curriculum “that are vital to keeping ETHS ranked among the top schools in the nation.”

Teachers Council President Bill Farmer said the agreement “honors both the tremendous work of our talented faculty and enables the district to maintain a fiscally responsible budget…given the current economic realities facing our state and the community.”

There are no raises in the first year of the contract, although each faculty member will receive a one-time payment of $1,500, according to details released by the district.

In the second year, faculty will receive a 1 percent increase plus a step increase linked to years of experience. The last two years feature raises tied to the consumer price increase (50 percent of the CPI in Year 3 and 75 percent in Year 4), plus step.

Overall, the increases represent an average 2.67 percent annual salary adjustment over the four years, which the district says approximates the historical and projected cost of living.

A joint committee of employees and administrators was formed to address future health care costs, the district said in a news release.

At District 65, the teachers have authorized their leaders to begin the process that could lead to a strike, but its president, Jean Luft, said “if we were going to strike we would certainly want to call our teachers in for a meeting to discuss it first.”

She added: “It is our greatest hope that we will reach an amicable agreement “ before a strike becomes necessary.

Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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