D233, H-F teachers union agree to 3-year contract

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D233, H-F teachers union agree to 3-year contract

June 19, 2021 - 20:42
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The District 233 school board approved a three-year contract with the Homewood-Flossmoor Education Organization representing more than 200 H-F High teachers and instructional assistants.

The board gave unanimous approval at its meeting Tuesday, June 15. The teachers union had ratified the deal earlier.

Jodi Bryant, the district’s director of human resources and one of the members of the negotiating team, called the contract a “fiscally responsible, mutually beneficial collective bargaining agreement.”

Teachers union President Dana Noble told the Chronicle: “This contract represents an understanding of the state of education in Illinois and the current position of H-F as well as a forward thinking plan looking 5 to 10 years in the future.”  

HFEO is affiliated with the National Education Association and the Illinois Education Association.

The contract, which extends to August 2024, provides for an average raise of 3.02%. To remain competitive with surrounding high school districts, the contract calls for increasing the first step of the pay scale covering salaries for teachers with bachelor’s degrees and bachelor’s degree plus 15 additional college credit hours. 

Teachers are paid on a scale that includes lanes for educational degrees and steps for years of experience. This latest agreement calls for percentage increases including salary increases based on a teacher’s position on the pay scale, and/or base salary.

It also includes a clause allowing negotiations to re-open in case pension reform or property tax freeze legislation have an impact on the agreement. The Illinois legislature has discussed imposing a temporary property tax freeze, and reassigning some or all of the teacher pension costs from the state budget to the local school district.

Changes to the insurance plan will result in a minimum of $100,000 in savings each of the three years.

The agreement also calls for a reduction in retirement incentives from 6% to 5.5%, which is inclusive of the annual increase. It is estimated this will be a $10,000 savings for each of the employees in the retirement pipeline. Bryant has said H-F is expecting a high number of retirees in the next few years.

Bryant explained in a board memo that negotiations have been going on for many months using the Harvard Interest-Based Bargaining Model. This style of negotiation has put aside the rancor that was typical of past contract talks.

Appointment and merit pay approved
The board approved the appointment of Steve Richardson as the director of information services. He replaces Gary Posing who retires from H-F after serving as director for 19 years. Superintendent Von Mansfield told the board numerous candidates were interviewed for the slot, but he was happy to offer the job to Richardson.

The board also approved $5,000 merit pay for administrators in recognition of their extra efforts this past school year. The vote was 6-0 with member Pamela Jackson abstaining.

Recipients are Jerry Lee Anderson, principal; Lawrence Cook, business manager; Quitman Dillard, assistant principal North Building; Craig Fanton, associate principal South Building; Jennifer Hester, director of curriculum, instruction and professional development; Jodi Bryant, director of human resources and PR; Matthew Lyke, director of athletics; Jennifer Rudan, MTSS coordinator; Dr. Angela Taylor, special education director.

“I think given the nature of the past year-and-a-half these individuals have gone above what was expected for the best experience possible. I think our staff would agree they have not skipped a beat,” Mansfield said.

The board also approved $5,000 payments to the final paychecks in recognition of special efforts by retirees Posing who retires June 30, and Tom Wagner, director of operations, who retires in December. The vote on these payments was 6-0 with Pamela Jackson abstaining.

The board also approved $10,000 merit pay for Superintendent Mansfield to be paid on his final paycheck “in recognition of the legacy you have built at Homewood-Flossmoor High School,” said Gerald Pauling, board president. The vote was 6-0 with Pamela Jackson abstaining.

“On behalf of the board, in expressing our sentiments – I couldn’t say it all – we certainly wanted to recognize you as our leader and as the leader of this team that has performed in a superb way,” Pauling said. “Your efforts and those of your team avoided mistakes that we saw other districts make. And we know that it does not happen by accident, it happens based on – to use your phrase – time on task, and we appreciate you devoting that and building this superior team, and to all your efforts over this year and others.”