District 86 Board approves salary for support staff, continues teacher negotiations

The Hinsdale High School District 86 Board approved salary increases last week for the district’s support staff that will be paid as a lump sum based on performance.

The support staff are evaluated and rated in one of four categories. Those who are rated satisfactory will be paid a performance bonus of $400, said Domenico Maniscalco, the district’s director of human resources. Those who are rated excellent will be paid a bonus of $750.

Support employees rated unsatisfactory or needs improvement will be paid the same salary as this school year, with no bonus.

About 200 employees, including secretaries, para-professionals and information technology positions, are considered employee support personnel. Unlike the teachers, they are not in a union.

The bonuses are expected to total almost $120,000, which would be 1.7 percent of this year’s total salaries of support employees, Maniscalco said.

School Board President Richard Skoda said district officials wanted the salary increases to mirror what they are offering the teachers.

Skoda said the board’s latest offer to the teachers, whose four-year contract expires June 30, was that teachers with performance evaluations of satisfactory or excellent would receive raises of about 1.7 percent, to reflect the consumer price index.

Teachers who are rated unsatisfactory or needs improvement would receive no salary increase.

The board also is proposing to eliminate automatic “step” increases in salary, which in the past teachers with fewer than 20 years of experience received automatically each year

The district in March originally proposed a freeze on teacher salaries, regardless of performance, Skoda said.

When the district’s and the teachers’ negotiating teams met with a federal mediator May 27, the district raised its offer to roughly 1.7 percent for teachers rated at least satisfactory, Skoda said.

Skoda said in March the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association, which represents a total of 377 teachers from Hinsdale Central and South high schools, proposed raises of 5.41 percent, which would include both step increases and the CPI. Skoda said the association countered the district’s 1.7 percent offer with a proposed increase of 5.29 percent.

Skoda also said the teachers’ union offered to have the employees’ share of the premium for family medical insurance increase from $181 a month to $205.

Michael Palmquist, the union spokesman, said Skoda’s figures were misleading and divisive.

Palmquist did not address the salary increases each side offered, but said the district proposed the employees’ share of the insurance premium for family health insurance at least double and their share of the premium for a spouse and dependent go up as much as 200 percent.

“The teachers’ association still believes that a negotiation in public is counterproductive and divisive,” Palmquist stated in an email.

“The most specific we will be is to note that our total proposal — language, salary and benefits combined — increases the amount District 86 spends on its distinguished teachers by less than 1 percent over what was spent last school year,” he said.

Palmquist said in the 2013-14 school year, District 86 used $41,142,552 of the budget on its teaching faculty. The teachers’ association proposal would increase this figure to $41,551,904 for the next school year.

“Overall, the teachers’ proposal is financially sustainable, completely within norms of other settled contracts, and fair to teachers and taxpayers,” Palmquist said.

The negotiating teams are scheduled to meet with the federal mediator again on June 26 and July 3.

Skoda said the district is committed to reaching an agreement with the teachers as soon as possible.

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