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Morris high school board and teachers union come to an agreement

MORRIS – The Morris Community High School and its teacher's union have approved a collecitve bargaining agreement, which includes a new salary schedule and retains their benefits.

"Over 96 percent of the teachers voted in favor of the agreement," Craig Ortiz, math teacher and union president, said Friday. "We were hoping to see a little more with salary."

The teachers approved it at the end of May and the District 101 school board approved it Monday.

It includes new money increases of 2.99 percent in 2014-15 school year, 2.77 percent in 2015-16 school year and 2.7 percent in 2016-17 school year.

The school board voted Monday to create a new salary schedule with step increases between 2.2 percent and 2.45/2.6 percent. The vote was 5-0 in favor of the agreement with board President Denny Best and member Tom Anderson absent.

"There will be a one-time nonrecurring off schedule payment of $300 for full-time teachers and $150 for part-time teachers to be paid over 24 pay periods in the 2014-15 school year," Superintendent Pat Halloran said Tuesday. "This stipend is to help get everyone to the index schedule."

There is no increase in the annual insurance allotment of $14,100 per the district's insurance cafeteria plan, and no increase in percentage of base amounts for extracurricular stipends.

"Stipends are based on a percentage of the base income and how long the teacher has been involved in the activity," Halloran said.

Ortiz said they were hoping to improve the extra curricular stipends, but the board was focused more on salary.

Retirement will remain the status quo in regards to a 6 percent end of career increase for up to four years.

The early retirement option states that it is limited to teachers with 20 years of continuous, full-time service with Morris Community High School, and written notice must be submitted by March 1 of the retirement year.

The collective bargaining agreement is for three years and will take the school to the end of the 2017 school year.

The current agreement was not set to expire until August of this year, but both the teacher's union and the school board wanted to come to an agreement before summer.

"That was the goal of both sides, to have it done before summer," Ortiz said.

Halloran said they are pleased with the tentative agreement.

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