DeKalb School District 428 OKs teaching assistants’ contract

September 19, 2018

DeKALB – Pay for teaching assistants in the DeKalb School District 428 will continue to rise for the next four years.

During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the District 428 board voted unanimously – and quickly – to approve a four-year contract for the DeKalb Federation of School Assistants. The contract will result in $1.25 pay increases for assistants in the first year, with a 2.3 percent increase for the three subsequent years. The previous contract expired Aug. 14; the current contract will run through Aug. 14, 2022.

“I think we had some really honest, direct and respectful conversation throughout our negotiation process,” district board President Victoria Newport said. “It was very positive.”

The decision comes nearly one month after union members demonstrated in front of the district office for three days during the week of Aug. 20. Those demonstrations ended when a tentative agreement was announced Aug. 24.

Cynthia Carpenter, the district’s director of business and finance, estimated that, before the new agreement, the average pay for a teaching assistant in District 428 was about $13 an hour, higher than the $10.27 an hour that teaching assistants earn on average in Illinois, according to an estimate based on input from 301 employees, users and advertisers over the past 36 months on the job site Indeed.com.

The 46-page agreement includes a requirement that members of the union not strike throughout the duration of the contract. It also ensures that union members will be entitled to sick leave, personal leave, bereavement leave, military leave, paid time off for jury duty or court appearances and unpaid leaves of absence. Early childhood special education assistants in the SOAL program also gained a raise of 15 cents an hour.

The board also voted unanimously to approve the budget for fiscal 2019, which allowed for $390,000 in additional funds for payroll to cover the salary increases for teaching assistants. The district is still expected to have a budget surplus of $5 million.

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