After months of negotiations, the Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 Board approved a the new five-year contract with the Association of Plainfield Teachers at its meeting on Monday night.
“It’s a wrap,” APT President Dawn Bullock said. “For five years, adding money to our salary schedule is certainly enticing to keep teachers. I’m very happy about that aspect.”
The new contract is retroactive to July 1, 2017, and is good through June 30, 2022.
Plainfield teachers will see average raises of 5.56 percent in the first year, 3.25 percent in the second year, and raises of 3.25 percent to 4.25 percent in the third, fourth and fifth years.
The deal adds money to the salary schedule every year, included expanded retirement incentive to reward longevity and maintains traditional “lane/step” salary structure. It also bases future salary increases on Consumer Price Indexing and re-indexes salary schedule for greater equity throughout membership, according to a statement released after the APT agreed to the deal last week.
The method of determining how much teachers’ salaries would increase year to year was the key point of contention between the board and the APT. The teachers advocated for the use of the professional pay schedule, as opposed to the Consumer Price Index, to determine the salary schedule.
The APT approved the deal on Nov. 1 with 58 percent of the member teachers voting yes. The board and the APT reached the tentative agreement after a few negotiation sessions on Oct. 26.
The APT previously overwhelmingly rejected a tentative contract agreement in September with 96 percent of members voting against it. Then, in early October, members of the APT voted, again overwhelmingly, to approve a strike in the event of failed negotiations.
The school district has nearly 28,000 students in 28 schools and retains 88 percent of its teachers, which is about the same if not slightly better than the average for the state, according to Illinois Report Card.
Bullock said that the community’s support of Plainfield teachers was made them feel very appreciated. Many came out to an Oct. 18 special school board meeting where a proposal was presented to the public with several community members, parents and even students speaking out in support of teachers.
“The sense of support from the community was overwhelming,” she said.
She said now it’s the job of parents and residents to keep up the pressure on politicians in Springfield to ensure the new funding formula will be adequately met for the foreseeable future.