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Lake Forest High School raises range to 3.8%

Updated: December 11, 2012 2:02AM

LAKE FOREST — The contract hammered out during the first-ever teachers’ strike in District 115 provides salary increases ranging from 2.4 percent to 3.8 percent over a four-year contract, school officials revealed.

High school teachers and the school board formally approved the contract Tuesday.

On health-care costs, another sticking point for the Lake Forest Education Association members, the teachers’ contribution to the HMO family policy has been reduced from 10 percent to 5 percent.

The School Board Tuesday night unanimously approved the LFEA contract after 97 percent of union members voted to ratify it earlier in the day.

“It’s a fair contract,” LFEA spokesman Chuck Gress said. “There was compromise on both sides.”

The union, however, made the biggest concessions, union leaders said. The 150 teachers sought increases ranging from 4.7 percent to 6.5 percent and settled for nearly half as much.

School Board Finance Chairman Jim Carey said the agreed-upon increases “reflect the current economic conditions.”

Carey called the negotiations, which culminated in a five-day strike, “an arduous process.”

The new contract calls for a 2.7 percent increase in the first year, 3.8 percent in the second, an estimated 3.6 percent in the third and 2.4 percent in the fourth year, depending on the Consumer Price Index.

The pay increases include base pay, tenure and CPI, district spokeswoman Anne Whipple said. “They are all-inclusive.”

Carey said those increases will allow the district “to continue to attract and retain the caliber of teachers that we need.”

But, he said, the agreement “also gives the taxpayers a break — after all it is our money,” he said.

The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2012. It will run through July 1, 2016.

The teachers will not be paid for the five days in September that they picketed and school was not in session, unless they make up the days, School Board member and negotiator John Scribner said.

The School Board on Tuesday night also approved changes to the calendar to make up the five days of the teachers’ strike. School will be in session Nov. 8 and Nov. 9.

The parent teacher conferences scheduled for Nov. 8 have been canceled. There will be an open house Nov. 13.

The school year has been extended to June 6, the last day of finals.

For three of the five days the teachers were on strike, the district held alternative classes, which the Illinois State Board of Education has determined were not official school days. The district, however, disagrees.

“We’re in the process of disputing that at this time,” Superintendent Michael Simeck said.

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