Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47, teachers union request federally appointed mediator to assist with contract negotiations

Negotiations stalled over compensation, retirement incentive program and planning time for elementary encore teachers, district says

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the union is proposing that the district contributes more toward an eligible teacher’s post-retirement insurance premium, going to $2,700 per year from $2,600 per year.

Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47′s leadership and its teachers’ union, unable to agree on some aspects of its new contract, have requested a federally appointed mediator to assist with the ongoing negotiations.

The school district issued a news release Wednesday announcing the move and said both sides have agreed to several working condition items and a handful of items with a financial component to them.

However, according to the release, both the school board’s bargaining team and Crystal Lake Elementary Teachers Association disagree on three main issues: compensation; the retirement incentive program; and planning time for elementary encore teachers.

A representative for the union could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

The two sides began negotiations in January, according to the release. Since then, they have met 10 times, including two full-day sessions, and had many subcommittee meetings and discussions.

The last proposal was submitted July 20 by the district to the union and was rejected, according to the release. A counterproposal was submitted later that day.

A meeting was held Wednesday morning but an agreement could not reached, leading to the request for a mediator, according to the release. The first mediation session is set for Aug. 11.

District proposalUnion proposal
SalariesAll teachers receive 3% per year for the next three years.Teachers on the salary schedule – which provides additional pay for years of experience and additional education – receive 3.8% (including the step increase for an additional year of experience) for the 2021-22 year, 3.7% in 2022-23 and 3.5% in 2023-24.
Teachers not on the salary schedule receive a 3% increase per year.
Retirement incentive programNewly require that teachers must retire upon attaining 35 years of Teachers’ Retirement System service credit to be eligible for the retirement program.The district contributes more toward an eligible teacher’s post-retirement insurance premium, going to $2,700 per year from $2,600 per year.
Planning time for elementary encore teachersPlanning time remains the same.One additional hour of plan time during the instructional day is provided to the 30 or so encore staff members at the elementary level.

The district said its retirement proposal would not affect most teachers who retire before the 2027-28 school year and it would accept the union’s proposals to increase both the post-retirement insurance reimbursement for eligible teachers to $2,700 per year and the payment for unused sick leave days to $50 per day if it, in exchange, agrees to the eligibility requirement.

“The [school board] is committed to reaching an agreement with its teachers on a contract that will serve the best interest of the District 47 faculty, students, and community,” the district said in the news release. “The [school board] recognizes the effort and dedication of our teaching staff. The [school board’s] most recent proposal is intended to reward its teachers’ performance while maintaining fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers in our community.”

Cassie Buchman

Cassie Buchman

I cover Crystal Lake, Algonquin, Cary, Fox River Grove, Prairie Grove and Oakwood Hills for the Northwest Herald.