Teachers got a 5.25 percent raise for next year from the board at Proviso Township District High School District 209 in the district’s new teachers’ contract. The raises fall slightly over the term of the three-year contract, shrinking to 4.75 percent in 2015-16 and 4.5 percent in the 2016-17 school year. All told, beginning teachers will get a 10 percent pay raise over three years, while highly qualified teachers with a PhD degree and lots of experience will take home about 15 percent more. 

The board approved the contract at its May 27 meeting, but it was not made public until July 21, because not all parties had signed off on the document.

The raises are reported in the contract as “inclusive of step” – a more transparent method that includes an automatic boost just for staying another year. 

“That’s how a lot of districts are doing it now,” said District Finance Director Todd Drafall.

The previous contract, signed by the board in 2010 was reported as a “1.5 percent raise on each step of the salary schedule.” The actual raise last time around, comparing apples to apples, was around 2.25 percent the first year and 3.1 percent the next two years. 

The district has 239 certified teachers between the three high schools, according to the Illinois Report Card. 

Next year, beginning teachers’ salaries, for teachers with a BA and no added educational credits will be $41,704 per year. Those teachers’ salaries will rise to $45,978 by 2016, or around 10 percent. The most experienced D 209 teachers with 27 years of experience and a PhD will rise from a $102,330 base salary to $117,895 in three years, or around 15 percent. 

Drafall said the salary boosts represent a way to catch up to what neighboring districts are paying to get the best teachers.

“Our starting salaries for teachers are quite a bit lower than the schools we compete against,” Drafall said. 

He said Proviso compares itself to neighboring districts and districts with the same number of students and percent of student s in poverty. He rattled off a list of districts that might hire a potential Proviso teacher: Morton High School in Cicero/Berwyn, Riverside Brookfield High School, and District 88 in DuPage. 

“You can’t compare our salaries to Decatur or Rockford,” he said.

The median high school teacher’s salary in the state with only a BA for a district of comparable size is $50,029.  The highest salary earned in the state by beginning teachers in comparably sized districts is $60,673, according to the Illinois State Board of Ed website. There are 20 other high school districts with a comparable student population in the state. 

Teachers’ benefits were also negotiated, with teachers paying 10 percent of their insurance premiums, which was the same as the last contract. 

Insurance will be decided by a committee, which will present a proposal to the board, which is new, Drafall said.

According to outgoing union President Mona Johnson, who retired this year, the contract process “required no outside mediators.” 

Johnson said the contract also increased the time teachers spend with students for one-on-one tutoring. 

“The end result was a win for teaching and learning in Proviso Township,” Johnson said in a statement.

Teacher’s salaries at D209 have been referred to as “on the low end” of the state pay scale by Financial Oversight Panel Chair Craig Schilling, who said the district’s administrators are well-paid in comparison. 

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...