St. Charles school district, support staff reach new contract agreement

St. Charles School District 303 has determined that it needs to replace seven buses in its fleet at a cost of $605,500.

The St. Charles District 303 School Board approved new contracts with the St. Charles Transportation and Maintenance Association and the St. Charles Educational Support Professionals unions during a special board meeting June 29.

According to a news release from the district, the contracts, which were ratified by members from both unions go into effect for the 2023-24 school year.

Under the four-year transportation and maintenance contract, bus drivers are guaranteed six workhours a day, making them eligible for health benefits.

“We are pleased to offer this incentive to help attract and retain quality drivers,” board President Heidi Fairgrieve said in the release. “Amid a national bus driver shortage, it was important during the negotiations process that we identify ways to increase the number of drivers in our district. With more drivers, we will strengthen service to students and families through route efficiency and transportation flexibility.”

The district and SCTM agreed to increase compensation each year of the contract, starting with $2 an hour in year 1, followed by increases of $1.50, $1.25 and $1 in each subsequent year of the contract. Additionally, the contract adds a longevity payment benefit for SCTM employees, according to the release.

Under the three-year Educational Support Professionals contract, the district and SCESP agreed to increase compensation annually.

In year one of the contract, increases for SCESP employees would total 4.75%. Increases would total 3.75% in year two and 3.25% in year three. Additionally, off-schedule employees will receive the same increase each year plus an additional 1.0%, according to the release.

“I’d like to thank the members of our negotiations committees for their time and efforts in finalizing these contracts,” Marci Conlin, assistant superintendent for human resources and administrative services, said in the release. “With the approval of our teachers union contract in May, we are pleased to have new agreements and stronger support systems in place for employees in all three of our unions for years to come.”

The contracts are available on the district’s Human Resources webpage.