McHenry County College approves faculty contract

CRYSTAL LAKE – After 19 months of negotiations and a strike threat, the McHenry County College Board of Trustees approved a new three-year deal with the full-time faculty association.  

The contract, which passed unanimously, was posted on the college's website Tuesday to give the public an opportunity to view the details. Trustee Chris Jenner, who has pushed for transparency during his time on the board, applauded officials for releasing the document.

College officials had previously said the contract would not be made public until after it was approved by the board.

"I really appreciate the fact that we put this out before the board meeting. I think that should be done with any significant contract," Jenner said. "A lot of public organizations don't even bother to do that."

No one from the public commented on the contract at the meeting.   

One of the final hurdles in reaching an agreement was the manner in which faculty could receive raises. 

Both sides came to an agreement that advancement would be achieved for every 15 credit hours of graduate-level courses completed for those pursuing a traditional master's or doctoral degrees or a minimum of 225 clock hours of noncredit professional development activity.

Professional development activity can include events such as conference presentations, theater productions and other relevant work to their respective field for faculty members not seeking advanced degrees.

The professional development clause was added to make sure instructors in fields such as automotive or fire science could continue to advance on the salary scale without having to earn a doctorate degree as it would not be relevant to their work. 

College officials previously proposed maximum earning potential could only be reached by those with doctorate degrees.

There are eight salary lanes faculty members can move across, with starting salaries of $47,100 in the first lane and $68,295 in the eighth lane. Instructors that make it to the eighth lane and have taught for 20 years can earn the maximum salary of $121,989.

Faculty members will be required to pay for 25 percent of medical insurance premiums as part of the deal.

The deal is retroactive to the beginning of the current school year.

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