The Lake Forest Education Association (LFEA) ratified their new four-year contract on Tuesday afternoon, with the Lake Forest Board of Education approving it at their monthly Board meeting that evening. The negotiation of the contract led to a strike in September.
The salary portion of the negotiation includes a 2.7% average increase in its first year and a 3.8% increase in the second year. Increases for the third and fourth year are based upon a formula tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), but the estimated raises are 3.6% and 2.4%, for years three and four respectively.
The salary increases are, ultimately, more closely in line with the Board’s submitted proposal than the LFEA’s, with the Board requesting a 2.6% raise in year one with the LFEA requesting 5.6%. For year two’s proposal, the Board requested a 3.4% raise and the LFEA requested a 6.5% raise. In year three, the Board requested a 3.4% increase, with the LFEA requesting a 5.6% increase. For year four, the Board requested a 2.4% raise and the LFEA requested 4.7%.
Health insurance largely looks similar to the previous contract, with HMO and PPO family premium splits changing. (More details are in the attached table.)
The LFEA and the Board also agreed to form a committee formed of members appointed by both groups. The goal of this committee is to recommend a new salary schedule, consistent with recent pension reform legislation.
The agreement is retroactive to July 1, 2012. However, teachers will not be paid for the five school days they were on strike. Additional days have been added to the calendar and were approved at Tuesday’s Board meeting. November 8 and 9, which were originally off for students, will now be mandatory attendance days. January 18 will now be the last day of finals. For the second semester, April 12 will now be a regular school day, with finals extended to June 6. Teachers will also now have four mandatory “teachers only days” on June 7, 10, 11 and 12.
As of right now, the days that students were in session during the strike will not be counted by the state of Illinois as accepted attendance days, but the Board is arguing that decision.
Both the Unfair Labor Practice Claims issued by the Board and the LFEA have been dropped.
“We are pleased to have a new four-year contract in place,” said Board of Education President Sharon Golan in a statement released Tuesday evening. “This newly endorsed contract keeps our district fiscally responsible to the community we serve, and allows our teachers’ compensation to remain competitive in today’s marketplace. We thank our parents, students, staff and community for their patience throughout these difficult negotiations and strike.
At the time of publication, a spokesperson for the LFEA could not be reached for comment.