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Board of Education Approves Four-Year Contract for Teachers in U-46

Feb. 5, 2024 

The School District U-46 Board of Education Monday approved a new four-year contract for more than 2,500 members of the Elgin Teachers Association (ETA). The contract addresses not only compensation but also planning and collaboration time for educators in the state’s second-largest school district.

The contract calls for an increase in teacher starting salaries of 6 percent the first year, 5 percent the second year, 3 percent the third year, and 2 percent the fourth year. The starting salary for a beginning teacher with a bachelor’s degree will be $60,600 by the final year of the contract. 

Before being brought to the Board of Education, 88 percent of the ETA membership voted in favor of ratifying the agreement. Negotiations began in late 2022. 

“This collaborative agreement ensures that School District U-46 will remain competitive in attracting, and retaining, highly qualified and dedicated educators who play such an important role in the lives of our students and their success,” said Lela Majstorovic, Deputy Superintendent of Instruction. “It also demonstrates our commitment to providing teachers with the time and tools they need to provide high-quality instruction.” 

In addition to salary increases, the plan also provides more collaboration or planning time for teachers at all grade levels. This is time that teachers can use to review new curriculum, design lessons, evaluate students’ work, and assess where they need more support. Teachers can also use the time to communicate with families, or collaborate with colleagues who teach the same grade, subject, or cohort.

At the elementary level, the teaching of one content area - either science or social studies - will be removed as a responsibility of the general classroom teacher. Instead, each building will have teachers who will instruct students in one of those subjects, which will join the other “specials” of art, music, and physical education. The elementary school day, which is currently 6 hours long, will be extended by 20 minutes starting in August 2025 to accommodate more planning times and specials.

At the high school level, teachers will have collaborative team time during early release days that will be built into the District’s calendar. 

The contract lays out a timeline under which caseloads for special education teachers will be reviewed three times each school year and a process for workloads deemed excessive to be addressed.

The contract also aligns teacher and administrative rights and responsibilities to the District’s Student Code of Conduct. 

The contract also includes increases for other rates of pay, including the hourly rate of pay for summer school as well as extra duties with athletics and activities. 

“This contract will have far-reaching positive effects for our educators, boosting the dedicated time they have to plan lessons, collaborate with colleagues, and reflect on their practice,” said Barb Bettis, President of the Elgin Teachers Association. “As a result, learning will be enhanced for the more than 34,000 students served by School District U-46.” 

The new contract is a four-year-contract inclusive of the current 2023-24 school year and concludes in August 2027.