D219 Teachers Get New Contract, Students To Start School Earlier
The Niles Township Federation of Teachers and the Niles Township Support Staff approved a new collective bargaining agreement on Sept. 24. Changes include: A possible new school start date, salary increases and new teacher evaluations, among other things.
Teachers at District 219 will receive a salary increase of 1.2 percent as well as significant concessions on insurance and pensions, the district said on Tuesday.
Patch reported earlier that the average teacher salary at D219 in 2010 was $97,000. According to those numbers, the average salary increase for each teacher should be around $1,164, plus increases for each of the three years of the contract.
Meanwhile, employee contributions toward insurance and benefit plans was increased. D219 Board President Robert Silverman said the savings in the "plans alone will result in $1.8 million in savings over the contract period."
In July, the board increased the budget by $11,403,600 - or about 7.31 percent - bringing the final number to $156 million. Those numbers might have changed after the recent collective bargaining agreement, however. D219 comprises Niles West and Niles North high schools and includes students from Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove and Lincolnwood. According to recent figures, property taxes make up 88 percent of the district's revenue.
Also in July, Patch reported that some homeowner's property tax bill jumped up by as much as 13 percent.
"What's going on is a massive shift in our equalized assessed valuation from industrial to residential," Silverman said in July.
That means while the district is not collecting much more than before, a much bigger share is coming from homeowners. In January of this year, the school board hired a law firm to fight owners seeking a property tax reduction.
New school days adopted -
D219 on Monday also approved "the right to adopt a new school day schedule." The district has suggested in the past that school start in the second week of August - about two weeks earlier than before - and end on Memorial Day.
Some expressed concern that the district did not take into consideration parents with students in feeder schools or the local park districts, which have programs running at different dates.
One parent sent a letter to Patch explaining the issues with the adoption of a new school start date.
New teacher evaluations
Teacher evaluations were also changed. According to Superintendent Naciann Gatta, the following changes will now take place:
- Teacher evaluations will be tied to student achievement and outcomes.
- Priority will be given to performance, rather than seniority, in determining teacher assignments.
- The district will develop a system to compensate excellent performance by coaches and activity sponsors with merit pay.