The teachers at Lyons Township High School have a new contract that will give them a cumulative 14% increase in their base pay over the five-year term of the deal. On April 17 the LTHS school board unanimously approved the contract, which will take effect on July 1.
The Lyons Township Educational Association, the LTHS teachers’ union, had previously approved the contract by an overwhelming margin according the LTEA President Andrew Johannes, who declined to give the exact vote of the teachers.
The new contract gives teachers a 4% increase in base pay next year, 3% percent increases the next two years and 2% increases in each of the final two years of the contract.
The actual year-to-year raises for teachers will be greater than the increase in base pay, because many teachers automatically get step increases based on seniority. For example, teachers who have a master’s degree and 10 years’ experience will see their pay increase by a little more than 7% next year under the new salary schedule.
School board member Alison Kelly, who along with Jill Grech were the two school board members on the administration’s negotiation team, said negotiations were collaborative and the contract is an indication of how the teachers are valued at LTHS.
She said the contract aligns with the school’s new strategic plan, which has a goal of attracting and retaining high-quality, diverse staff.
“The teachers are so valued at this school, and we want to do what’s right to keep the teachers engaged as much as possible,” Kelly said.
The increases in base pay are significantly greater than the current contract, which was agreed to in 2019, a time of low inflation. That contract gave teachers only a cumulative 5.5% increase over the five-year length of the contract.
It took the union and the school board negotiating teams less than two months and only a handful of negotiating sessions to come to terms on the new contract. Five years ago, LTHS teachers worked five months without a contract in place before the current contract was agreed to.
Negotiations for the new deal took place during a divisive school board campaign during which the LTEA endorsed the two incumbents running for re-election, Jill Beda Daniels and board President Kari Dillon.
In a statement made at the April 17 school board meeting before the vote to approve the new contract, Johannes, an economics teacher at LTHS, called the negotiations productive and collaborative. Johannes also praised the role of Superintendent Brian Waterman.
“Both parties were focused on a positive dialogue and making decisions that are best for students,” Johannes said. “This is a testament to Dr. Waterman’s leadership in fostering a collaborative environment at LTHS.”
Dillon also praised the new contract, which she called fair and reasonable, noting that the new contract honors the important work that teachers do.
“We believe this agreement will have a positive impact on our students’ learning experiences and help us continue to provide high-quality education to each and every student at Lyons Township High School,” Dillon said.
Under the new contract, the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience next year will be $62,283. A teacher with a master’s degree and 10 years’ experience will make $95,294. A teacher with 20 years of experience and who has 30 graduate hours beyond a master’s degree will make $131,418.
There are no changes to health insurance in the new contract. Teachers will continue to pay 22% of health insurance premiums. The contract also gives teachers a 6% raise for summer school teaching.