Teachers in Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 have a new three-year contract that gives them 5% raises in each year of the contract. Members of the District 95 school board voted 5-0 to approve the new contract at their June 15 meeting.

“I’m glad we were able to come to an agreement on it,” said Katie Mulcrone the president of the District 95 school board. “I think it was a good contract on both ends.”

Mulcrone and board member Jacqui Jordan represented the school board on the administration’s negotiating team.

Katie Richards, an art teacher at S.E. Gross Middle School who was on the teachers union negotiating team, said she was pleased with the new contract.

“I think it’s very fair,” Richards said.

Union members had approved the new contract prior to the school board meeting, but it wasn’t unanimous. The Landmark has learned that 72% of union members voted in favor of the new deal.

The union and the district hammered out the contract during seven negotiating sessions. Negotiations began in February and concluded in May when the two sides reached an agreement. The deal begins with the new academic fiscal year on July 1, 2023 and expires June 30, 2026.

Under the terms of the new contract, the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and no experience will rise to $48,632, which is slightly higher than the $47,638 salary such a teacher will earn in Riverside Elementary District 96. 

The starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree and no experience will be $53,039, which also is slightly higher than the $52,400 the same teacher would earn next year in District 96.

Unlike District 96, however, teachers in District 95 do not get annual step raises in addition to base-pay raises. Instead, District 95 teachers with advanced degrees and graduate credit hours are paid more than teachers who only have bachelor’s degrees. 

There are separate salary lanes for teachers depending on their levels of education. A teacher with 15 graduate hours gets $1,000 added to the base salary, while a teacher with a master’s degree gets $3,500 added to the base salary.

 The contract adds a new salary lane for teachers with a master’s degree and 60 additional graduate credit hours, which comes with $1,500 added to the base salary. There are now six separate salary lanes for teachers.

Under the new contract the district will pay the same 85% share of single coverage for medical insurance for teachers during the first two years of the contract, but the district share of single medical insurance will increase to 90% in the final year of the contract.  The district will pay 65% of the cost for family health insurance, which is a significant increase. The district will pay 100% of the cost of dental insurance.

“They got a significant increase in board contribution for insurance as it relates to employee plus either family or child,” said Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski. 

Teachers made other gains. Teachers will now be allowed to do some teacher-parent conferences remotely. There are two formal teacher conference days in the fall; one may now be done remotely. 

“They got a shorter amount of time for requirements after school, whether it be parent-teacher conferences or other required evenings,” Kuzniewski said.

Teachers also got an increase in pre-retirement pay boosts. Teachers can get pay boosts of no more than 6% in their final few years. These pay boosts increase teachers’ pensions. Teachers who have taught at District 95 for 15 years or more will receive a post-retirement payment of $1,250 for each year they taught in District 95 up to a maximum of $30,000.

Teachers received an additional bereavement day, bringing the total of bereavement days a teacher can take in a school year to four.

The new contract replaces a five-year contract that gave teachers 3% annual raises.