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District 308 Teachers, Staff, Administrators Receive Raises

Increases in line with Consumer Price Index.

Teachers and support staff in will receive raises after the school board unanimously approved contracts Monday night with the unions that represent those workers.

The teachers' union, Oswego Education Association, and the board agreed to a 2.1 percent salary increase for the 2011-12 school year. The 2.1 percent is based upon a blended Consumer Price Index from July through December 2011 combined with the CPI from January through June 2012, according to a district news release. The contract will expire June 30, 2012.

A one-year deal was necessary because a more complex negotiation will take place next year as the high schools move to the new eight-period schedule.

“Throughout the negotiation process, both the school board and the OEA focused on safeguarding the fiscal stability of the district, ensuring quality educational programs and attracting and retaining a talented teaching staff,” said Todd Colvin, associate superintendent for administrative services. “Discussions revolved around the performance of our dedicated professional staff, salary comparisons with surrounding school districts and adopting contract language to accommodate future expansion of the district.” 

Some union members will receive additional increases of up to 6.75 percent after completing graduate coursework or obtaining an advanced educational degree, the release said.

“The OEA is pleased to have worked with the Board of Education to reach this acceptable agreement for the 2011-12 school year,” said Darla Medernach, OEA president.

The union ratified the agreement Oct. 13. The union’s previous contract, which expired June 30, included 3.8 percent increase.

Support staff are set to receive a minimum 2 percent and maximum 2.5 percent pay raise, as well.  The deal reached with the Oswego Educational Support Professional Association will expire June 30, 2015. The OESPA represents about 250 secretaries, building nurses, teacher assistants and technology specialists.

“We believe we have worked in good faith with the school district to develop a fair and equitable agreement,” OESPA President Laurie Peterson said. “OESPA is proud of the wonderful working relationship we have developed with the district and we look forward to continuing that in the future.”

District administrators also received a 2.1 percent increase courtesy of the School Board. The board voted 4-3 for the increase with members Dave Behrens, Lynn Cullick and Mike Scaramuzzi voting no. Scaramuzzi had made a motion that failed for a 2.8 percent increase, which would have equaled the aggregate of teacher increases. Cullick and Behrens also had supported the 2.8 percent figure.

School Board President Bill Walsh, who abstained from the vote on the teachers' union because his wife is a member, said raises were justified based on the effort of teachers, staff and administration.

“As we continue to compete in a global market, it’s our teachers who we trust to teach our children,” Walsh said. “We appreciate and support of their efforts.”

Jane Enviere October 29, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Bzmanya -- I don't have a pension, so there isn't much hilarity to find in that. ; ) Arne Duncan and Bill Gates have some interesting viewpoints, but I don't know that I'd say that anyone is the be all, end all when it comes to education reform and philosophy. But as a longtime supporter of NPR -- I agree, they have interesting stuff to share! WBEZ is my favorite station, when my kids aren't clamoring for Taylor Swift! lol
Richard Saunders October 29, 2011 at 04:58 PM
Actually, I agree to a point with Gates, Duncan and others who question the value of automatic pay raises for further education. Note, I said "question", not assault. For as long as anyone can remember, those steps have been built into teacher contracts. There are a large number of teachers teaching that have the academic qualifications to become administrators, but don't pursue that. In a lot of (ok, some) cases it's because they've taken the courses not to become better at their jobs, or seek advancement, but only because they would receive pay raises. Another matter is that with their new degrees, they make more teaching than they would in an administrative post. How many good potential principals are we losing this way? On the other hand, in many areas of private industry, companies not only pay tuition, but give raises for employees earning advanced degrees. No question the system needs some patching, but attacking teachers for being greedy is not the way.
Brandie Holmes October 30, 2011 at 02:56 AM
I think it's terrible that the state stole/borrowed from the teachers pension. My husband and I have always supported our schools 100%. I did not appreciate a comment made earlier with regards to the "move if you don't like it here". I have lived here for 82 years and this is my home. We live on a fixed income because someone stole my husband's retirement. I have no problem with raises for anyone as long as you don't ask me for anymore. I can not afford to give anymore of what I don't have. As a senior I voted with a "Yes" for the last referendum but if asked again it will be a "No" To anyone who doesn't like my answer you may also let that door hit you in the behind on your way out.
J. Gibbons October 30, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Amen!
Richard Saunders October 31, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Brent, When I read your reply concerning health insurance, I thought something seemed off. I've been away for a few days, and now have had a chance to look into your reply. Does it embarrass you to be so wrong in your response to a taxpayer in a public forum? About 5 minutes of showed me this: This is the second year of the 90/10 system whereby NEW administrators pay 10% of their insurance cost. Administrators employed before last year are grandfathered and pay nothing. The new 20% goes into effect in JULY of 2012, not January? Nitpicking? No, I don't think so, I think your reply only served to encourage the attitude that a group of employees is getting more than they deserve. If it was not deliberate, it certainly demonstrates to me that we have one board member who needs a fact checker, or a proofreader. While I'm here, are you going to entertain us with an explanation of your vote to spend $750K more than needed in architect's fees when the lower cost was submitted by the firm that is already familiar with the building? I'll hang up and wait for my answer.
Richard Saunders October 31, 2011 at 06:54 PM
And pardon me any misspellings or grammatical errors, I'm typing on a mobile device in a moving car. No, not while driving, but thanks for asking!
Brent Lightfoot November 01, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Also to clarify some new admin are contributing 10% (hired in the last two years). I had forgotten that when I posted last week.
Brent Lightfoot November 01, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Richard - no deliberate attempt - I was trying to add some clarification. My intent was to say that both groups are soon to be in alignment. The original proposal was Jan, but was moved to July for contract starts which I did forget. Likely I best stay out of Patch - but always happy to answer emails - my board email is posted on the district web site. As for your questions on architect - I think that all board members answered that question in last weeks Ledger.
J. Gibbons November 01, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Brent: Oh please...do not let one disgrunteled gotcha type stop you from any clarifications offered - this venue in particular. Many more listen and learn who do not respond directly, so keep it coming. Thanks.
Richard Saunders November 01, 2011 at 03:56 PM
J - I'm not the least disgruntled about anything, just wanted some answers to a question. Brent - thanks flr clearing it up. Finally, not everyone reads the Ledger. They might help that situation by being more timely in updating the online content though!
Richard Saunders November 01, 2011 at 03:59 PM
I stand, or sit - humbly corrected. Months back I stopped reading the Ledger online because it was always 2-3 weeks behind. Just now I looked, and see it's been updated as of yesterday.
Eileen November 01, 2011 at 09:54 PM
Dear All (teachers, and non-teachers), I read with amazement some of the comments here. I really think you'all are trying to be civil here, however, the frustrations on both sides are quite apparent. First of all, as a taxpayer, parent and aging citizen (with fixed income looming), I understand all of you. I think we all need to walk a mile in one another's shoes, Seniors are hurting with the rising tax bills, middle income families are hurting due to lost wages, stagnant wages and perhaps no wages. Teachers are frustrated because nobody appreciates them. If we look at the entire scenario, middle class Americans are hurting - especially those without union jobs. Most non-teachers believe that public school educators should be evaluated based on performance, and not on across the board pay increases . . . and middle class Americans who work without union support, need to understand the the teacher's expect union based wage increases. So where do we meet in the middle?
Jane Enviere November 01, 2011 at 11:24 PM
The problem with "...evaluted based on performance,..." is that it's not quite as easy in education. It's not about you met sales goals or not. It's not a cut and dried P&L statement that says your margin was good or not. You are dealing with children, and all their variations. How do you fairly evaluate that? Test scores? Grades? Some students will never perform well. Why? 100 different reasons that no one wants to actually voice. Some kids just aren't (gasp!) all that bright. Some students are lazy. Some students could do it if they were supported at home, but they are note. Some have language barriers. Some have special ed needs. Some will be a C/D student on their best day, with the best teachers, parents bending over backward to get them all the extra help that time and money can buy. What do we tell the dedicated, creative, passionate, hardworking teacher with an advanced degree who spends hours before and after school working on planning, grading and tutoring, but still has children in his/ her class (perhaps even the majority of students) who are getting Cs, Ds, or failing? It's his/her fault? No raise for you? continued...
Jane Enviere November 01, 2011 at 11:26 PM
As a taxpayer who does not delight in an $8000 bill on a house now worth under $200K, as a non-teacher, as a parent, and as a stakeholder simply because I am a member of this community - the middle ground isn't going to be found in Oswego. It's a national problem. And frankly, I don't think their compensation is out of line. These are educated (many with advanced degrees) professionals with our future in the seats of their classrooms. I'll save bargain-hunting for somewhere other than education. If we use the $40K figure thrown out here, I don't see that as outrageous. My first job out of college (again, not a teacher and not an engineer either! lol) 20 yrs ago paid more than that. It's all in your perspective, but I don't think teacher salaries are the issue.
Jay November 02, 2011 at 03:29 AM
Jane, 20 years ago in 1991, the Average starting salary for an Engineer graduating from the University of Illinois was between 28-30k/year. The average for an LAS Degree, same school (one of the TOP schools in the state) was about 22-24k/year. Anderson Consulting was just starting out and hiring people for about 28k/year salary. That said, how do you figure your first salary 20 years ago was more than $40k/year. In 1991, very, very, very few entry level positions for new College Graduates were over $30k/year.....how did you manage to blow that out of the water by another 33% ?
Jane Enviere November 02, 2011 at 04:15 AM
Jay -- well, how do I figure It's pretty easy. I know my salary history and have a bad habit of hanging on to my tax returns. lol It wasn't much over $40K, but it was close to mid-$40s. You're right -- jobs were* very* hard to come by in the early 90s (so many friends just went straight to grad school), but I was fortunate to have worked through college, chose a field that was (and is!) booming, did a great internship and was hired by a company I had worked for in college for 3 yrs, transferring between locations near my university and then back in the 'burbs during the summers. : ) Funny you mention U of I because my roomie when we got our first apartment post-college (1 month after my August graduation), was an accounting grad and she made a couple grand less than I did. I remember it because she was very put out about it. lol My late grandfather, also a U of I accounting grad was amused by the irony. She's with Ernst and Young now and doing just fine. More than made up the gap early on. lol! I left the daily grind of healthcare administration and moved onto consulting. Better hours and I'm never out of work, either way! : )
Jane Enviere November 02, 2011 at 04:24 AM
FWIW -- I was overseeing 30 staff members, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on a 2-level, 35-bed unit. At the time, the money was decent, but getting 2am phone calls on a routine basis wasn't fun. While the money got better, and the number of beds and staff members under my watch went well into the 200s, I'm delighted to no longer receive those phone calls! I paid my dues when I was young and had no other responsibilities! lol
Paul L. November 02, 2011 at 02:16 PM
I'll add this link for interesting ready. Illinois House Bill (HB3793) PTell Extension Limitation. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3793&GAID=11&DocTypeID=HB&SessionID=84&GA=97
Robyn Vickers November 02, 2011 at 02:17 PM
@Jay, I think Jane's numbers are very feasible (and yours are really low). I graduated from an out of state university in 91 and my friends that were engineers all found jobs easily and they definitely paid $40+. The friend I knew that started at Anderson made over $40K. (Of course he also worked 90 hours a week, but at 22 the hours didn't matter and the money seemed huge. LOL) I had a liberal arts degree so, yeah, I started out much lower, but was able to work my way up pretty quickly. In fact, my salary in the corporate world quadrupled in less than 8 years and I didn't have to take a single extra credit of school to do so, unlike teachers who do it at their own expense.
Paul L. November 02, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Oops, not enough coffee...that should have said "reading". While it won't impact the State, I wonder how local representatives are positioning themselves on this Bill here in Kendall County.
Kelly November 02, 2011 at 02:23 PM
My favorite kind of teacher is one who loves kids, does their job well, and keeps their mouth shut about how much money they do (or do not) make. My sister-in-law is a great teacher who is currently out of work. I have never heard her complain about her job or the money. But there are others ... and that's all you hear. I have not shared my salary with one person since I started working more than 15 years ago. But it seems like every other teacher I know is talking about their pay, benefits, pension, etc. I don't think anyone here really feels that teachers don't work hard; we all do. You just get sick of hearing about how great teachers are and how much they deserve, especially in this economy. The bottom line is that everyone deserves their "fair share" and I pray that we can get this economy back on track so we can get there. God bless all the teachers. Here's to hoping the raises can help them provide an even better education for our students.
Robyn Vickers November 02, 2011 at 02:48 PM
In my opinion, it's not the teachers complaining about how little they make, it's other people complaining that they make too much "for working 9 months a year" and other ridiculous arguments. (I'm speaking of the general tone of the country these days.) That's both sad and infuriating to me.
David November 02, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Can I ask just one question - why does every teacher's contract have automatic pay raises of 6% the last 4 years they work? I look forward to your answers, then I'll provide my own.
Pat Stiles November 02, 2011 at 06:17 PM
David Are you talking about teachers or administrators?
Alette Anderson November 02, 2011 at 06:20 PM
Because their TRS (teacher retirement) is paid on a percentage of their last four years salary. Many districts are much more than 6% the last two years.
Brandie Holmes November 02, 2011 at 07:42 PM
Mr. Lark or Patch members, Would someone kindly explain to this elderly woman what that bill exactly means. Thank you for helping me out. Everyone is so bright.
J. Gibbons November 02, 2011 at 09:30 PM
Paul - thanks. u-huh! I think it said the extension shall be or maybe not be, depending on whether it is higher than it was prior to this year, or any other year, but in any case, it does or doesn't apply to the lesser of 5% but in certain cases, depending on whether or not the weather is above 60 degrees, on the north sides of the street only!
David November 03, 2011 at 05:11 PM
At one time back in history, you could make the argument that teachers got the good benefits (Pensions, heathcare, time off) because they didn't get paid much. I don't think you can make those arguments anymore, since they do make a competitive salary. When you look at their total compensation package - they are paid pretty well. As a comparison, how much do teachers in the private sector make (teaching at private schools)?
David November 03, 2011 at 05:14 PM
Having not seen many responses - the state limits the raises to 6% in the final 4 years to limit the abuse of artificially padding their salaries in the final years to get a bigger pension. Of course other abuses like getting paid for unused sick days and vacation days still occur. And we wonder why the pension system is broke.
David November 03, 2011 at 05:58 PM
The contract is available at: http://www.oswego308.org/assets/5/employment/contract_teacher.pdf Some highlights: Work year is 181 days, based on 40 hour weeks, with 27 hours student time 13 hours prep/lunch. Medical benefits paid at 80% district, 20% employee. Vision and Dental paid at 100% district. Life insurance paid 100% by the district. Retirement contribution of 9.4% paid 100% by the district. 12 sick days per year, able to accumulate year to year, with unused days being paid upon retirement. 2 Personal days per year. Automatic 6% raises for 4 years prior to retirement. Any extra duties (coaching, summer school, mandatory meetings, etc) paid. Lane change raises from 5% to 6% Step raises from 1.1% to 3% (although this can be misleading without seeing last years salary chart).

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