PLAINFIELD — Plainfield School District 202 board members unanimously approved an agreement this week with union support staff at a special meeting.
They also approved unanimously the installation of artificial turf at four high school stadiums. District officials said in a news release the turf installation is the district's first significant capital project in almost a decade.
A one-year contract with the Plainfield Association of Support Staff was approved Monday that gives union members a 3 percent raise, according to a separate district release. The contract also improves benefits for most PASS members.
PASS President John Piechocinski thanked board members and administrators in the release for their work on finalizing the union contract.
“Although we would have liked to have negotiated a longer agreement [we] understand the dynamics that involves the [state’s] funding for the future. We look forward to continue working together in the future,” Piechocinski stated.
The agreement is retroactive to July 1, 2015 and expires June 30, 2016. On Dec. 11, PASS ratified the contract by a vote of 671 supporting it and 150 against it.
PASS members have rallied at past district board meetings for better pay and benefits. The union and district officials were in negotiations since April.
Union members were dissatisfied with what they said district officials proposed for their contract and wanted a 3.75 percent raise with better benefits.
Some support staff said PASS made sacrifices in the past, such as pay freezes, minimal pay increases and decreases in health care coverage quality.
School board President Michelle Smith said in the release the contract is “fair to our employees while also honoring our obligation to be good stewards of our community’s resources.”
District officials plan to install artificial turf at four high school stadiums.
The project is estimated to cost about $6.5 million, according to the release, which stated that tax exempt working cash bonds will be sold to finance the work.
The installation will occur in two phases over the next two years.
The Central and South high school fields – the oldest of the four schools – will be replaced this summer. Work will begin in May and will be slated to finish in September, according to the release.
The East and North fields will be replaced in summer 2017 with targeted completion by mid-September of that year.
District officials said the artificial turf will let the four high schools use their stadium fields more often rather than just for football games. Students on other athletic teams will be able to use those stadiums as well.