Members of the Evanston Township High School District 202 Teachers’ Council (TC) voted to accept a one-year contract extension, which includes a 0.8 percent base increase next school year for the TC’s 282 members. The District 202 Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the agreement on June 6, 2016.
By agreeing to extend the current contract, the Teachers’ Council and the District will be able to resume formal bargaining next year when some of the uncertainty around the Illinois state budget and other legislative decisions that could affect school funding might be resolved. The TC’s current contract started July 1, 2012 and gave educators a combined 2.67percent salary adjustment over the course of a four-year period and a wellness component to help address future health care costs. The one-year extension covers a period of July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 and will provide Teachers’ Council members with a 0.8 percent base increase on the salary schedule, a $275 one-time payment, and a step increase, if applicable.
“Recognizing the importance of our teachers and given the precarious financial situation in the State of Illinois, we sought to reach a fair and affordable agreement in negotiations,” stated Eric Witherspoon, ETHS District 202 Superintendent. “The two teams negotiated respectfully in good faith and crafted a one-year extension together. Agreement was reached prior to the end of the school year. We will closely monitor the next legislative session to better understand the future impact of legislative actions on our school district.”
A negotiations committee comprised of Teachers’ Council members and District 202 administrators focused on crafting an agreement that was competitive with other high-performing school districts while also looking at the fiscal and legislative realities that impact schools at the local and state level. The union voted and approved the contract extension on June 1, 2016.
“Uncertainty around school funding for public schools in Illinois persists and poses significant challenges for long-range, sustainable budget planning for districts across the state,” said Bill Farmer, president of Teachers’ Council at ETHS. He explained that the Evanston/Skokie community “has demonstrated an unwavering commitment towards providing its students with the highest quality educational opportunities.” Farmer expressed commitment on behalf of the Teachers’ Council to “continue to engage in collaborative, good faith negotiations during the upcoming school year with the shared goal of balancing fiscal responsibility with both the enhancement of student learning conditions and the district’s ability to attract and retain an exceptional faculty.”
Currently, 256 out of 282 ETHS teachers have advanced degrees; 91 percent have Master’s degrees, which includes 11 staff members with doctoral degrees.