Daily Herald | Round Lake Schools, Teachers Reach Deal

Daily Herald

To follow up on my earlier post.

Round Lake schools, teachers reach deal
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Round Lake-area school district and its teachers union reached a tentative contract agreement Monday night after a lengthy 11-hour day of negotiations.Jerri Ryan, attorney for the school district, said details of the agreement would not be released until the contract is ratified.

“This is pending approval by the rank and file and approval by both boards,” Ryan said.

The district and the association have been meeting since April – 14 times in all – to hammer out a new, multi-year contract. Since November, both sides have met nine times with the help of a federal mediator.

District 116 educates around 6,400 students in eight schools. The contract will cover 565 certified teachers and non-certified staff, including support and custodial workers.

The sticking point, according to both sides, is salaries. The district has been proposing a five-year contract while the association wants a three-year deal.

• For support staff and non-certified employees, the district is proposing raises between 5 and 6.5 percent annually. The union wants raises from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent annually.

• For teachers and certified staff, the district is proposing a 5 percent to 6 percent annual increase over the term of the contract. The union is seeking 6.75 percent to 7 percent annually.

Teachers have been working since last June without a contract and union members, in February, voted overwhelmingly to strike if a deal wasn’t reached soon, while 99 percent of the members said they would not cross picket lines.

An eight-week strike rocked the district in 1994. The last contract between both sides was reached in 2003, but not without the assistance of a mediator. A strike vote at that time had virtually the same outcome as the February vote.

The new deal will have to be ratified by union members and approved by both the board of education and the state finance authority, which oversees the district. Ryan did not know when the three sides would cast their respective votes on the contract.