Waukegan Public Schools Collective Bargaining Agreement

Teachers accepted the agreement by far: 97 percent voted “yes,” teachers union president Kathy Schwarz said, adding in a press release that the Waukegan Teachers` Council and the Lake County Federation of Teachers County would support school board chairman Mike Rodriguez along with candidates Porfirio Garcia and Brandon Ewing in the April 4 board elections. “Their salary level is lower than in many neighbouring districts,” he said. “We get so many good professors from the university. We train them, we prepare them, and as soon as they become really experienced and competent, they go to another neighborhood. Each school will develop its own “discipline plans,” a fluid document designed to show how responsibility for student discipline is shared by parents, the administration, teacher and student, and to list non-disciplinary interventions that, according to the project, are available. The new contract also includes a new section on Senate Law 100, a state law passed in 2015, that makes it more difficult for school districts to enforce disciplinary methods, such as suspensions and expulsions, as students leave the classroom, according to the draft. Schwarz said she was “on the same side with her feelings” when it came to making the district more competitive, and noted that it was always important to attract and retain new teachers. The highest spending department at Waukegan CUSD 60 was the , with an annual payroll expenditure in . These additions would allow teachers and administrators to jointly create the framework conditions under which discipline and interventions would take place, Schwarz said. Under the contracts, teachers with between one and 22 years of meritorious seniority would see their salaries increase by 4.5% in the first year, 4.5% in the third year and 4% in the fourth year. The last contract started with increases of 5.75 per cent, followed by increases of 5 and 2.5 per cent. Teachers 24 years of age or older would increase by 3.5 per cent in the first year, followed by increases of 3 per cent in the second year, 3.5 per cent in the third year and 3 per cent in the fourth year, as the district records show. Teachers with this experience received increases of 3.25% in the first and second year of the last contract and 2.5% in the first and second year of last year.

Rodriguez said it was important for him to reach an agreement before the election, because no one knew what the new board would be and he wanted to make sure that a contract was in effect before next year. The borough released a draft contract amendment on Friday afternoon after a borough spokesman said union members agreed with the new four-year contract. Rodriguez added that he began addressing the union`s management two years ago after being elected chairman of the board. He said he promised at the time that the district of 16,800 students would not go into another situation like the bitter 2014 strike that preceded the last contract. The proposed increases fall below what the borough was willing to offer and is something the borough can afford under the financial projections of district employees, Rodriguez said. He added that he considered it important to close the wage gap between Waukegan and other neighbouring neighbourhoods, but that this was not possible in a contract. Waukegan CUSD 60 paid more for the payroll than for other employers in the school district category. A proposed contract would increase the salaries of most teachers in the Waukegan School District by 3.5 or 4.5 percent next year, which the school board president said was part of efforts to close the pay gap between Waukegan and other surrounding municipalities.

Under the proposed four-year contract, teachers` entry salaries would increase by 2.25 per cent in the first year, the second by 2.25 per cent in the third year and by 2 per cent in the fourth year, as shown by a breakdown of the contract changes made by the Landkreis.