Teachers at Evanston Township High School may or may not have the proverbial apple on their desks when school starts, but they will definitely have something in their back pockets — a new contract.

The District 202 Board of Education approved the four-year agreement Monday morning.

The Teachers Council, union for more than 300 teachers, librarians, counselors, and other certificated personel, had previously ratified the contract by a “resounding” margin, according to Council president Rick Cardis.

Cardis, an ETHS teacher, told Evanston Now “we’re happy” with the deal, which calls for a 2.3% raise in the first year, 3.5% in the second year, and third- and fourth-year raises linked to the consumer price index, but capped at 5%.

Separate from the raises, teachers and other union members also receive step increases based on seniority. When added to the new pay raises, that could mean an average of about 5% more money for each educator in the upcoming year.

Cardis said the new contact also moves new teachers up the salary ladder more quickly.

The union president said negotiations with the district were not contentious, and, in fact, went “a lot more smoothly and collaboratively” under the district’s new human resources director than had happened in the past.

“I feel like we were heard,” Cardis noted.

“We gave on things, they gave on things.”

One big thing the teachers did receive is 12 weeks of paid parental leave, instead of the state-mandated six weeks.

Cardis said Evanston may only be the second district in the region to have the additional paid maternity/paternity time.

“It’s a pretty big deal to get that,” he added.

Classes at ETHS start Aug. 15. After a challenging year of returning post-COVID and adapting to the new block scheduling system, Cardis is looking forward to a quieter year.

He said having a new superintdent in Marcus Campbell, and a new ETHS principal in Taya Kinzie, is, Cardis said “a bit of a fresh start.”

“I’m optimistic,” he added.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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