More than six months before the contract will take effect, the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education has agreed to a new two-year contract with its teachers, paraprofessionals, clerical employees and aides.

The contract was unanimously approved by both the school board and the members of the Riverside Education Council (REC) in December. The Landmark has not reported on the contract until now, because the salary schedule for teachers was not available until March 11.

An error in the second-year salary schedule had to be fixed and approved by teachers and the school board. The new contract will cover the 2013-14 and the 2014-15 school years.

Like the three-year contract that expires on June 30, the new contract calls for base salaries for teachers to be tied to the consumer price index. Base salaries will increase by 50 percent of the consumer price index, but base raises will be no less than 1.75 percent and no more than 3.5 percent.

School district revenues are tied to the CPI due to property tax cap laws, so many school districts are trying to tie raises to that index.

In the 2013-14 school year base salaries for teachers will increase by 1.75 percent and that is also likely to be the increase in the second year of the deal.

The contract retains automatic step increases for most teachers. A few school districts, including Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 have eliminated step increases. Including the automatic step increases, most teachers will see their pay increase by between 4.5 percent and 5.2 percent annually.

Veteran teachers, those with more than 20 years of experience or more than 13 years and just a bachelor’s degree, no longer receive step increases. They will receive annual raises of 3.25 percent.

School board President Mary Ellen Meindl and Vice President Art Perry negotiated with teachers. Attorney Justino Petrarca also represented the board in the negotiations that occurred last fall.

Meindl said that school board was looking for a two-year contract so that incoming Superintendent Bhavna Sharma-Lewis wouldn’t have to deal with contract negotiations in her first year at the helm.

“The goal was to get an extension for two years that kept in line with the past practice of our contract, which is based on a percentage of CPI which we felt was fair, the teachers thought was fair, so that our new superintendent wouldn’t have to be negotiating in her first year,” Meindl said. “There is work to be done in the future on the contract based on the economic realities in the future, but for the short term we believe this is a fair contract.”

REC members agreed.

“The contract passed unanimously,” said REC President Patricia Gill, who teaches instrumental music in District 96. “I am pleased with the contract.”

Under the new contract, the salary for a first year teacher with a bachelor’s degree will be $42,417 in 2013-14. A teacher with a master’s degree in her 10th year will be paid $65,746 next year.

A teacher with a master’s degree plus 30 more credit hours of graduate work and 15 years of experience will be paid $80,591. The highest salary on the 2013-14 salary schedule, for a 20-year teacher with a master’s degree and 30 or more hours of graduate credit, is $90,346.

Full time teachers will pay 5 percent of the premium cost of single health insurance coverage and 15 percent of the cost of family coverage.

Also in December the school board approved a four-year contract with the district’s 12 custodians, who are members of the Teamsters Union. The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2012 when the previous contract expired. Under the new contract the custodians will receive annual raises of 3 percent in each year of the contract.

This year eight of the district’s custodians are being paid between $16.21 an hour and $22.59 an hour.

If a new custodian is hired after June 30, 2013 the starting pay would be $15.25 an hour. On July 1, 2014 the starting pay for new custodian would increase to $15.30 an hour and rise to $15.45 an hour on July 1, 2105.

Board member David Kodama helped negotiate the agreement with the Teamsters Union.