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Elgin Teachers Association to Vote on Tentative Agreement

Career Credit box with text

May 22, 2018

ELGIN – More than 2,400 members of the Elgin Teachers Association (ETA) will vote Thursday on a new three-year contract that moves away from the traditional teacher salary model and instead aims to better compensate teachers for the varied ways they improve their own instructional practice and the learning environment of their students and colleagues.  The tentative agreement for a 2018-21 contract between the teachers association and the administration was developed through four months of bargaining that ended in early May.

“This is a model rooted in a collaborative effort to compensate teachers as professionals who dedicate their time and expertise to not only improving their own instructional practice but also the learning conditions and climate at their schools and the entire District,” said Dr. Suzanne Johnson, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction.

“Our tentative agreement is an investment in the 11 communities served by School District U-46. It immediately makes educator salaries competitive with our surrounding districts. It gives us increased flexibility to meet with parents, to coordinate family events and continues to foster a strong bond between our schools and our communities,” said Richard Johnson, President of the Elgin Teachers Association. “The new model will allow the District to attract bright, talented teachers to our schools and will fairly compensate our experienced teachers for the outstanding work they do in and out of the classroom.”

The agreement follows the lead of other districts across the country, such as Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Denver Public Schools, that have already changed compensation, moving away from standard increases, called “Step,” based on years of teaching, and “Lane,” based on years of post-bachelor’s degree credit. Importantly, it raises the salary for beginning teachers from $43,000 to $50,000, making the District more competitive for attracting new talent.

Under the Career Credit Model, teachers could earn pay based on 150 to 1,800 credits spread out on a 12-level salary scale. Based on the model, that means today’s teachers could still earn one of 159 different salaries but will see an average annual increase of nearly four percent (3.88 percent) over the next three years. If a teacher does not see an increase in pay through the Career Credit Model, she/he will remain under the current system, begin to accrue career credits and switch to the new system when she/he begins to see financial benefit. Additionally, the new model promises:

  • Continued access to a higher salary through experience credit;
  • Continued access to a higher salary through formal education;
  • Opportunity to shorten the amount of time to reach the highest salary rate;
  • Improved recognition for contributions to the learning environment through collaboration with colleagues on committees such as those convened to write curriculum

Current teachers’ share of health insurance premiums -- now at 10 percent -- would increase to 15 percent effective July 1, 2021 while new hires or those who have had a break in service would automatically fall under the new health premium plan, contributing 15 percent toward annual premiums beginning July 1, 2018. Teachers rehired without a break in service would remain under the 90/10 split.

Current step and lane placement will be converted to career credits as explained in an overview on the ETA website. Members have been informed of the new model during the past couple weeks. A newly created joint Compensation Committee shall have as part of its charge the task of differentiating career credit allocation for future implementation and refinement of the initial allocation.

The ETA Contract Ratification vote will occur at school sites on Thursday, May 24. Negotiated benefits will become effective after ratification by the members of the ETA and after final approval by the School District U-46 Board of Education but not before July 1, 2018 and will extend through the 2020-21 school year.