Burr Ridge teachers, board square off over contract
Updated: March 24, 2012 8:43AM
Members of the teachers union aren’t pleased with the Burr Ridge Community Consolidated School District 180 board’s decision to make public the issues that are keeping the parties from reaching a contract agreement. “The Teachers Organization of Palisades is very disappointed by the CCSD 180 Board of Education’s decision to make public the confidential bargaining proposals between the parties,” representatives of TOP said in a written response to a post on the district’s website.
The post, part of the district’s Bell Tower newsletter, describes in detail the issues that board members consider to be the sticking points in what now amounts to months of negotiations.
Topping the list is the length of the proposed school day, which now differs at the two district schools. Now, Anne M. Jeans Elementary School students receive 6 hours, 55 minutes of instruction each day. The school’s teachers work 7 hours, 30 minutes, according to the School Board.
Burr Ridge Middle School students are in class for 7 hours, 15 minutes and the teachers work 7 hours, 50 minutes each day.
The board has asked teachers at both schools to work 7 hours and 40 minutes each day under the new contract, providing 7 hours, 15 minutes of daily instruction.
“The board proposal calls for every student in the School District to receive the same number of instruction minutes, regardless of whether that student attends Burr Ridge Middle or Anne M. Jeans Elementary School,” according to the board’s posted statement.
Teachers argue that it’s not that simple.
“The actual difference in instructional time varies greatly by grade, not a consistent 20 minutes as reported by the district,” the teachers’ written statement says.
The School Board claims that the union wants 5 percent salary increases for each of the next three years, with the potential of an additional 1 percent increase tied to impact aid — money that the district receives due to Argonne National Laboratory’s placement within the district.
The union disputes the statement, but states only that teachers are asking for “a modest raise on our base salary.”
The board reportedly has offered a salary increase of at least 7.5 percent over three years, with the possibility of as much as 10.5 percent.
Insurance benefits also stand between the teachers and a new contract.
“The district contributes a set amount to insurance premiums making family coverage unaffordable for teachers, while administrators get fully paid coverage for their families,” the teachers claim.