School District and Teachers Hopeful Contract Negotiations Will Soon be Settled through Mediation
Thursday, September, 3, 2015
Mediation appears to be working in the Huntley school board and teachers negotiations. The negotiations include officials from the Huntley school district and the Huntley Education Association, the area teachers union. Union representatives stated following a late August mediation session that significant progress has been made concerning the teachers’ contract, after the session lasted until 11:30 pm one night.
There was no final contract at the end of the evening, but everyone was optimistic for the first time in weeks and most assume a fair resolution that the district will consider fiscally sound and teachers will consider competitive will be reached soon. The Huntley Education Association represents more than 650 teachers, all of whom will be affected by the new contract.
Following the latest meeting, the teachers union publicly thanked the board for its time and energy and acknowledged everyone is working hard to find a fair solution. The school board president described the mediation sessions as upbeat and expressed his pleasure that the negotiations are definitely going well and there is progress being made. He, too, is hopeful there will be a solution in the coming days.
The current teacher contract expired June 30. That contract included an annual step increase in wages of 3.5% during each of the three years the contract covered. Teachers want the new contract to feature higher pay and consider a higher number to be more competitive. They are also asking for help with health insurance costs and asked the district to pay a higher percentage toward teachers’ health insurance premium costs rather than the flat fee it now covers. There are also demands concerning class size and workload for special education teachers.