On Monday, October 24, 2016, the Evanston/Skokie School Board approved a five-year contract with the Evanston Custodial/Maintenance Association (ECMA). The association represents all full- and part-time custodial and maintenance employees who work in District 65, including general and head custodians, drivers, and warehouse staff. Bargaining teams representing ECMA and the School Board began meeting on July 20, 2016 and held a total of seven sessions.

“I could not be more pleased with the overall process and the final agreement that takes into account the district’s structural deficit while serving the members of the union well,” said Paul Goren, Superintendent of Schools. ”I would like to recognize the union leadership and both bargaining teams for their positive and professional tone and their collaborative approach in having difficult conversations. I am grateful to the Board’s bargaining team for their strong representation of the Superintendent and School Board at the table.”

In a concerted effort to address the unprecedented budget deficits the district is facing, starting at $4.5 million in the 2017-2018 school year, the bargaining teams agreed to raises in contract years two through five that are tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The majority of district revenues come from property taxes which are capped at CPI, which has historically remained near 1.5% but is currently at 0.8%.

Highlights of the five-year agreement (2016-2017 through 2020-2021) include the following:

  • 2016-2017 includes a 2.5 percent bonus with no increase to base salary or step increase (advancement on the salary schedule with each year of service)
  • 2017-2018 through 2020-2021 includes a base salary increase equal to 50% of the Consumer Price Index, never paying less than 1.5% or more than 2.5%
  • 2018-2019 through 2020-2021 include step increases
  • Top-step stipends are available in all contract years for those who have reached the top of the salary schedule

“On behalf of the Evanston Custodial/Maintenance Association and our bargaining team, I would like to thank the Board of Education and Administration for the opportunity to work together and reach what we all believe to be a fair and equitable agreement. Both sides of the table made many concessions, but what eventually resulted was a package we can all call reasonable,” said Eddie Reeves, President of the Evanston Custodial/Maintenance Association.

“With this contract, we are able to honor the important role our custodial and maintenance staff play in the success of our schools, while remaining fiscally sustainable for the school district and community,” said Candance Chow, Board President. “I would like to recognize all members of the Board’s bargaining team for their many contributions during the negotiations process. The team kept the Board abreast of progress and repeatedly relayed the joint commitment to reaching an agreement despite the significant financial challenges that lie ahead. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment to the process.”