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Woodstock School District 200 teachers contract lays out changes in evaluations, raises

WOODSTOCK – Starting next school year, student growth will be factored into performance evaluations for Woodstock Community School District 200 teachers per a new five-year contract.

The school board unanimously approved the contract, which will run from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The Woodstock Council of Teachers, which has about 500 members, ratified the agreement Monday, union President Bill Donato said.

The current agreement between the district and the union expires at the start of the next school year.

The contract includes a 3.75 percent raise for the first two years, according to a recent district news release. In years three, four and five, teachers will receive increases based on a property tax extension limitation law formula. Teachers will receive an increase of no less than 3.5 percent and no more than 4 percent in the third and fourth year, and of no less than 3.25 percent and no more than 4 percent in the fifth year.

The agreement also includes notable changes to the health insurance coverage as well as to teacher performance evaluations, Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Mark Heckmon said.

“In recent years, the state Legislature passed legislation requiring districts to include student performance in the rating for classroom teachers,” Heckmon said. “The major revision incorporated a measure of student growth that will be part of the performance rating beginning in 2016.”

The district will use results from the Measure of Academic Progress assessment for first- through eighth-graders, the ACT Aspire test for grades nine and 10, and the ACT for grades 11 and 12, Heckmon said.

While not a fan of the law, Donato praised the collaborative efforts of both the union and the school district.

“We have committees that are half union and half administration, and we’ve been working together on the evaluation plan – well, every year – but really heavily since this law,” he said, adding the major change is having 25 percent of a teacher’s evaluation be tied to student growth.

On the health insurance side, Heckmon said the contract includes an increase in deductibles, which will be phased in over a two-year period, as well as an increase to the maximum out-of-pocket expenditures for participants.

“We also made changes to the structure of co-payments for prescriptions,” Heckmon said.

Donato acknowledged that teachers would be paying more, but said it was something the union anticipated.

Negotiating the contract took three sessions over the summer to go over language and two “full-blown” sessions this fall, Heckmon said. Both he and Donato noted the negotiating teams’ ability to finish the bulk of negotiating in a timely manner.

“We do have a good relationship,” Donato said. “Obviously we won’t agree on everything, but we have such a good foundation. It only took us a couple sessions.”

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