Teacher Contract Narrowly Approved by Oswego Education Association Teachers

The three-year contract addresses salary and pay steps and high school teaching hours.

The Oswego Education Association (OEA) and the Oswego 308 board of education have officially agreed on a three-year contract.

Members of the OEA voted Jan. 18 to approve the contract, which the board of education had previously unanimously approved Jan. 14 with board president Bill Walsh abstaining from the vote because his wife is a teacher in the district.

A tentative agreement was reached prior to winter break, but voting wasn't held until January.

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The vote was “closer than any I’ve ever been a part of,” said President of the OEA, Darla Medernach.

The vote for the teacher’s union passed 544 - 445 in favor of the contract.

One of the largest sticking points in negations was teacher salary and steps. Previously the board had proposed no salary step increases, but would still offer credit for years of service.

There will now be a monetary amount attached with salary and steps, although the number varies depending upon the salary schedule, said Mederach. The starting salary for the beginning teacher for the 2013-14 school year will increase half a percent to $40,200.

Medernach said the unfortunate point was, “if teachers don’t have a place to step to, there will not be any of that kind of raise.”

Steps are done on a yearly system.

Walsh said changes for the value of the step were split in half, with the first half taking effect on Sept. 15 2013 and the other 50 percent on March 15.

All increases will be retroactive through the start of the school year.

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The contract also addressed the high school day, which switched this year to 8 flex-periods from block scheduling of four classes. The OEA had originally asked for the requirements of a high school teacher’s day to remain as they were this year, with five instructional periods, one prep period, one supervision period and one duty-free lunch period. 

Teachers will now have student contact for six classes a day, with five graded periods and one non-graded period, which will focus more on student specific needs, said Medernach.

“Everyone is happy we have an agreement, which is wonderful,” said Walsh. “We can now focus on other things, like curriculum, bringing up test scores.”

The teachers had been working without a contract since June 30 2012. Negotiations began last January and finished in January this year.

Walsh said the board and administration is aware of the cost implications over the next few years due to the contract.

“We will build it into our budget,” Walsh said. Although state and federal funding are always changing, Walsh said they were confident that they would be able to fund the additional costs.

“We’re looking now to, as Dr. Wendt says, make us a world class school community,” said Medernach.

Lisa Stout January 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Education should be valued in any community. There should be pay increases as higher degrees are obtained as it is increases in most other fields. Additionally, when more work, more classes, longer school days is warranted, pay should be compensated proportionally.
Jen January 28, 2013 at 02:47 PM
There should be a cap according to the states financial situation. Which in this state, we can not afford raises in teachers salary/benefits and, they are well aware of that. If they don't like it , there are plenty of people, good people waiting in line. Illinois has nothing but a money grubbing "Teacher Mafia" attitude. And we continue to feed this way of thinking. Ridiculous !
Ridiculous January 28, 2013 at 03:38 PM
They are receiving .5% raise after four years of no increase. How is this "good news for teachers" (as indicated on Facebook article)? The COL has not decreased in those 4 years and neither have property taxes. The board and teachers who voted for this contract should be ashamed of themselves.
Jen January 28, 2013 at 04:36 PM
They should feel very fortunate that they are employed. Are you kidding ! State of IL DOES NOT HAVE THIS MONEY.
concerned citizen January 28, 2013 at 05:10 PM
In my private sector experience, earning a higher degree does not translate into an immediate pay increase as it does in teaching. In most fields, earning a higher degree can certainly make you more promotable or more attractive to a new employer, but you are guaranteed nothing.
concerned citizen January 28, 2013 at 05:10 PM
I may have read it wrong, but I believe the .5% increase is for the starting salary for new teachers and not raises for existing teachers. My apologies if I am incorrect.
Richard Saunders January 28, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Ahhh....Jen? The State isn't signing their checks. The school district is.
Jen January 28, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Ah.....Richard? Who do you think pays the pension benefits of the overly paid babysitters? The more salary paid now, the more you pay now and later. Hello?
Jen January 28, 2013 at 06:49 PM
And.......There should be a cap according to the states financial situation. Which in this state, we can not afford raises in teachers salary/benefits and, they are well aware of that. If they don't like it , there are plenty of people, good people waiting in line. Illinois has nothing but a money grubbing "Teacher Mafia" attitude. And we continue to feed this way of thinking. Ridiculous ! It's perspectives held like that, that have gotten us here. It does matter.
Jane Enviere January 28, 2013 at 07:58 PM
Jen - from the looks of your comments, you probably should have spent more time paying attention to your own "overly paid babysitters".
A concerned teacher January 28, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Overly paid babysitter, huh? Well, I pay the neighborhood girl $3 per hour per kid in my house when I want to go out. $3 per hour per kid X 25 kids per class= $75 per hour x 6 hours per day= $450 per day x180 days =$81,000 per year. This is what I should get, in my opinion...and MANY people pay their sitters a lot more than I pay when I go out. Just saying...best not to put your foot in your mouth, darling...it tastes pretty nasty.
A concerned teacher January 28, 2013 at 08:28 PM
And...for the record...I work far more than 6 hours per day...was just asking to be paid for my "babysitting time."
Richard Saunders January 28, 2013 at 09:08 PM
And it piles on.... First: What Jane said. Next, oh they know they're fortunate alright, there are enough unemployed people walking around with teaching certificates to show that anyone employed knows they are in a good place. Money grubbing teacher mafia? Please. If you want to look for blame over the pension problems dragging the state down, look at the people elected to "represent" us in Springfield who for years treated the pension funds like a giant piggy bank. Pensions are in trouble not because they've been too generous but because they've been mishandled by Springfield.
jpjones January 28, 2013 at 11:35 PM
What in the world is wrong with you Jen?? Wow
TS January 29, 2013 at 03:28 AM
You are absolutely right concerned teacher.
Jen January 30, 2013 at 01:18 AM
Awwwww.....180 days....And all those incredible benefits........Poor thing. It's reality people. Snap out of it.
Lisa S. January 30, 2013 at 11:46 PM
How many months do you work out of the year... and what is the dollar value of your health, dental, and life insurance? As well, how much is being paid toward your pension by someone other than yourself? Do that math and I'd say you are doing pretty well.
Diane Cabiness January 31, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Could someone explain to me what a "non-graded period" is? I don't know what that term refers to.


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