Last month, the teachers’ union at Komarek Elementary School District 94 and the school board both approved a new four-year contract that will run through the 2025-26 school year. 

Teachers will get a 5-percent raise next year, which will be a combination of a 4-percent boost in base salary and 1-percent raise in lane adjustments. In the second year and third years of the contract, teachers will get raises based on the consumer price index but with a floor of at least a 2.5 percent and a maximum raise of 4.5 percent in base pay. 

In the final year of the contract teachers will receive a 5-percent increase in their base pay.

“I think the contract is good for teachers,” said Komarek Superintendent Todd Fitzgerald. “They’re be given fair wages in light of what’s going on these days with inflation and the economy.”

Fitzgerald said the contract is also good for the district, because raises in the second and third years of the contract are tied to the consumer price index, which also determines the increase in the district’s tax levy.

“Having this connected to the consumer price index will allow us to move forward in a fiscally responsible way and not overextend our budget when it comes to teacher salary,” Fitzgerald said.

It only took four negotiating sessions over two to three weeks for the union and school board to agree on the new contract.

“There was really outstanding collaboration between the Board of Education and the union co-presidents and representatives that were part of the negotiation team,” Fitzgerald said.

The new starting salary for a Komarek teacher with just a bachelor’s degree will be $43,000. The starting salary for a teacher with 15 graduate credit hours in addition to a bachelor’s degree will be $44,000. The new starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree will be $49,000.

In the second and third years of the contract, the starting salaries for new teachers will rise by 1 percent less than the raises for currently employed teachers. In the fourth and final year of the contract, the starting salary for new teachers will rise by 4 percent.

The school board will have the discretion to pay new teachers that have experience at other districts an amount equal to but not to exceed what is paid to currently employed Komarek teachers with similar experience and education.

The district will continue to pay 100 percent of the cost of single health insurance for teachers. A teacher who chooses not to be covered by district’s health insurance plan and provides proof being covered by another health insurance policy is eligible to be reimbursed for up to $2,000 annually for medical expenses. 

Last year, teachers at Komarek only received a 1.25 percent raise as the previous three year contract was extended by one year.