Teachers union, school board reach contract deal in Woodland District 50

New 5-year agreement addresses salary, insurance, other issues

GURNEE – The Woodland District 50 Board of Education and the Woodland Federation of Teachers and Staff, Lake County Federation of Teachers, Local 504/IFT/AFT have agreed on a new five-year contract.

The contract was ratified by the union on July 22, according to a news release. The Woodland Board of Education approved the ratification of the contract at its July 28 meeting.

The contractual agreement includes Woodland’s teaching and support staff, which is made up of 729 members.

District officials and union representatives formed a bargaining committee in the fall last year to negotiate a new five-year contract after agreeing to a one-year rollover in March 2021.

Terms of the new agreement:

• The district modified the salary matrix to conform with Public Act 101-0443, establishing a minimum salary of $40,000 for certified teaching staff. Woodland has been working to close this gap, which is required by law by 2024. Salaries on the matrix will see an average of 8.33% increases in year one and an average salary increase of 4.29% in years two through five. This step is necessary not only to comply with the law, but also to attract top talent to the district in a competitive job market experiencing teacher shortages. The new salary matrix is designed to move the bottom of the scale up to the required minimum salary immediately, but is structured for more sustainable growth over the long term.

• Certified staff with longevity that are off the salary schedule will receive a 4.5% increase in year one, 4.25% in year two and have salary increases tied to a Consumer Price Index formula in years three through five to respond to changes in the economy.

• Extra duty appendixes (for example, coaches, band directors, theater directors) were updated for fiscal 2023 to be more competitive with neighboring districts. Appendixes will increase by 2% in the second and third year of the contract and 1% in years four and five.

• An optional vision plan will be offered to Woodland employees beginning in year one of the contract. Vision premiums will be the sole responsibility of the employees electing coverage. In year two, Woodland will offer an additional HMO plan to union members.

• Noncertified staff will receive a 5% increase in year one, a 4.5% increase in year two and 4% increases in years three through five. In addition, fiscal 2023 salaries for noncertified staff making less than $20 an hour will receive a flat rate increase on a sliding scale prior to receiving their 5% increase.

“The past few years have been like none other our members have experienced and we appreciate the continued support of the Board of Education as we navigated uncertain times,” said Sharon Anday, a middle school science teacher and union president. “We put in many hours of work throughout the negotiations process and I am proud of the work we did on behalf of our membership. I am confident this new contract meets the needs of our members, students and the entire school community.”

Woodland School Board President Carla Little said, “After two years of extensions, we are thrilled to have a new five-year contract in place that was built on solid ground and mutual respect. This contract is the result of teamwork, compromise and problem-solving by both parties to figure out how best to support our staff and how to continue providing top educational opportunities for our students.”

The new contract extends through the 2026-27 school year.