After inking a landmark contract a year ago with its teachers union, the Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 school board came to similar terms with two other bargaining units in July.
The four-year deals with the district’s teacher aides and custodial workers mirror the contract with the teachers union with regard to figuring future pay raises. Step raises are eliminated completely in the new deals and raises are tied to the consumer price index, which is used to determine the district’s annual tax levy increase.
“The board is proud of the fact that it brings us in line to remain able to provide quality services to kids and the community, while allowing us to address the fiscal needs we’ll have in the future,” said D95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski.
While other school districts in the area have begun tying base pay raises to the CPI, D95 remains the only one to convince all of its union employees to give up step raises, which are added to base raises as an employee gains seniority.
The trade-off, said Kuzniewski, is job security.
“We recognize people around us receive higher [above] CPI than we do,” said Kuzniewski, “but staffing levels are not guaranteed.”
District officials and representatives for the union that includes the district’s teacher aides was hammered out in one session, said Kuzniewski. It took a bit longer to settle the contract with custodial staff, but the terms of both contracts regarding salary increases are identical.
During the first two years of the contract, raises will be 90 percent of the CPI, unless the CPI is less than 1.5 percent or more than 5 percent. No raises will be less than 1.5 percent or greater than 5 percent during those first two years.
In the last two years of the contract, which ends June 30, 2015, raises will be 95 percent of CPI. No raises will be less than 1.75 percent or higher than 5 percent during that time.
Employee contributions for health insurance remain the same. The district will pay 85 percent of PPO coverage for individuals and 100 percent of individual coverage for the HMO plan. For both PPO and HMO coverage for families, the district will pay 85 percent. Dental coverage for individuals will also be covered at 100 percent.
Custodial staff agreed to give up a stipend the district paid to employees who worked night hours. In exchange, those employees start the new contract at a salary $500 higher than their daytime colleagues.
The district’s ability to rearrange shift schedules for custodial workers also gained more flexibility with the new contract. Instead of set shifts, the district now can schedule employees when they’re needed, but the shifts can’t begin before 6 a.m. or end later than 10:30 p.m.