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District 46 board adopts new deal with teachers

CRYSTAL LAKE – The District 46 school board on Tuesday approved a deal with its teachers union – a four-year contract that includes raises for the union’s 74 members.

Teachers went on strike for one day last month after contract negations broke down.

A crowd at Tuesday’s school board meeting cheered the school board’s approval of the contract, which ends in 2015.

It ties salaries and benefits to a two-year blend of the Consumer Price Index, with a cap at 3.5 percent. Under the formula, teachers will receive a 1.89 percent raise for the current 2012-13 school year.

The contract does away with previous annual, automatic salary increases for each year of experience, called “steps,” and gives the board more control over teachers’ insurance options.

Teachers can select two insurance plan choices and the board can select a third. Additionally, there is a fixed dollar amount for employer contributions to insurance premiums.

The agreement provides no post-retirement bonus or benefits for teachers.

Superintendent Lynette Zimmer said after the meeting that she thinks the contract is beneficial for both the district and teachers. “It’s nice for the process to be over,” she said.

Joanne Rohrer, the Prairie Grove Teachers’ Association co-president, agreed. “It’s a relief,” she said. “I’m very relieved to have it settled. It’s a fair contract.”

Negotiations began Jan. 31, 2011, and teachers have worked under an expired contract since August 2011. Under the new deal, teachers will receive retroactive pay.

The district serves about 1,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

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