RICHMOND – Richmond-Burton Community High School and its teachers union have reached an impasse in negotiations over a new five-year teachers contract.
The Richmond-Burton Education Association also filed a 10-day notice, which is required before teachers can go on strike.
Negotiations have broken down over two main points in the contract, pay for teachers with a master’s degree and whether to remove a 6 percent increase given to teachers the past four years for new hires, according to the last offers filed with Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board as required by state law.
The teachers union asked for a higher cost-of-living increase for teachers with master’s degrees and the most experience, arguing in its submission that District 157 falls behind on salaries for its most experienced and educated teachers when compared with other districts.
Most teachers receive raises two ways, through cost-of-living increases and through moving along the salary schedule, which ups teacher pay for more experience and education.
In a sampling of 21 area districts, Richmond-Burton teachers were paid above average when they had a bachelor’s degree and no experience but were paid about $7,700 less than the average when they had a master’s degree and 20 years of experience, the union’s report said.
The district said it would agree to the additional pay if the union would agree to eliminate pre-retirement salary increases, the district said in its release.
Pension benefits are based on the teacher’s ending salary.
The two negotiating teams agreed on most other items, including raising available tuition reimbursement, the in-school substitution rate, the rate paid for curriculum development and school improvement planning time, the extracurricular salary and lead teacher pay.
The district also agreed to continue to contribute at its current levels for health insurance and added dental, according to a news release from District 157.
School Board President Steve Holtz did not return an email for comment. The district would not provide a phone number.
Richmond-Burton Education Association President Ryan Carlson also did not return a call for comment.