ISD 166 and Cook County teachers' union reach agreement

The ISD 166 School Board has finished its negotiations with 
the Cook County Educational Association— the teacher’s union. At 
the May 17, 2012 school board meeting, School Board Member Terry 
Collins reported on his and board member Mary Sanders’ work 
negotiating on behalf of the school board. Representing the Cook
County Education Association (CCEA) were Al Heine, Marc Tavernier, and 
Betsy Jorgenson.  The agreement, which applies to 39 teachers, will be 
in place for the years 2011-2013.
A mediator was hired because the two parties could not agree on 
salaries. The union asked for a 3.1 percent increase.
Collins also said arbitration had been considered.  After Collins and 
Sanders were told that they would likely end up increasing salaries 
even after arbitration, he said they decided to spend the 
$18,000-20,000 they would have spent on arbitration on salaries instead.
The result was a 0 percent salary increase this year (although 
teachers will still move up the pay scale based on years of experience 
and educational level) followed by changes in the salary scale next 
year—which together will amount to an increase of approximately 2 
percent in the amount paid out in teaching salaries next year.
Collins said they also negotiated a change in the starting pay for a 
new teacher because they felt it was not competitive. A new teacher 
with a bachelor’s degree will now earn $33,392.
Also increased was remuneration for coaching and other student 
involvement outside the regular classroom.  According to Sanders, this 
raises compensation to more professional levels. Collins said that the 
old pay schedules for things like coaching, advising student groups, 
and chaperoning weren’t necessarily fair and had become “cluttered 
with inconsistencies.” To determine pay, they came up with a 
mathematical formula that better reflects the actual work done, 
training required, financial accountability involved, and supervision 
needed for each activity.  As a result, some jobs increased in pay and 
some decreased (although anyone currently doing a job will not get a 
reduction in pay). It is hoped that it will make things easier in the 
future.