The Park Ridge-Niles Elementary District 64 school board voted 5-2 Monday to approve a four-year contract that will give teachers an average 3.6 percent raise each year.
The contract includes a 2 percent base increase for each year, plus increases for experience and added education that average out to 1.6 percent each year.
Supporters of the contract say that it will give the district financial stability and that the district can live with the costs, keeping a projected fund balance of at least four months’ worth of expenses in the bank beyond 2017.
The teacher union, the Park Ridge Education Association, voted to approve the contract Sept. 18.
Earlier: District 64 annnounces contract deal
In addition to the salary provisions, the contract also includes a number of clauses that ensure teachers’ contributions are valued and that they have a say in the way the schools operate, said school board president John Heyde.
“One of the themes is an attempt to make sure we are treating our faculty as a faculty and empowering teachers to have a voice within the district,” Heyde said at the meeting.
Opposition because some homeowners are struggling
The two board members who opposed the deal said the district gave too much money to the teachers at a time when the district’s homeowners are struggling.
“It seemed not fiscally prudent,” said board secretary Eric Uhlig. “We in Illinois are paying much higher state taxes this year, the median income has gone down across the entire country and property taxes don’t come down. Our teachers are very well compensated compared to other districts.”
District needs $14 million for buildings
Board member Anthony Borrelli also voted no on the contract, citing rising taxes and declining income and net worth for taxpayers. He also said the district needs more money to put towards looming capital needs. A survey of the district’s buildings found $14 million in immediate needs.
“Funding for these necessary projects to provide a safe working and teaching environment, free of flooding, mold and providing temperature and humidity control, for our teachers and children is a difficult and serious concern,” Borrelli said in an email.
Borrelli would have approved a contract that kept teacher raises in line with the inflation rate, he said.
“It was my hope that a win - win situation would have been reached,” he said. “If a salary increase could have been kept within the anticipated CPI for the next several years, teachers would not have had an erosion of salary due to inflation and the cost to the District would have simply kept pace with inflation.
“This contract extends beyond the anticipated CPI for the coming several years. For the above reasons, in fairness to the taxpayers of District 64, I have voted no to the contract.”