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PAXTON — Salary raises are in store for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district’s certified teachers and educational support staff.
The school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the PBL Education Association teachers’ union.
The CBA, which was earlier ratified by the union, calls for annual pay increases for the next three years for all 120 certified teachers and 78 educational support staff members, District Superintendent Cliff McClure said.
The new contract goes into effect retroactive to July 1, 2012, and will expire June 30, 2015.
Under the CBA, certified staff members will receive a $1,500 salary increase this school year, $1,450 next year and $1,400 the third year. The raises include retirement benefits, McClure noted.
Education support staff will receive a 3.75 percent salary raise this year, 3 percent next year and 2.5 percent the third year, McClure said.
McClure said that he, the board and the district’s attorney, Chris Miller of Monticello, began negotiating the new contract with the union in June, prior to the expiration of the old CBA on June 30. Over the summer, four meetings were held to work out the details, and a tentative agreement was reached Sept. 5, McClure said.
School board member Mike Short of rural Paxton said negotiations “went very well,” adding that talks were “cordial throughout.”
“We were able to reach a three-year agreement that provides our employees with a good raise in these economic times and also leaves the district sound, financially,” Short said.
McClure said that throughout negotiations, he was always confident an agreement was within reach.
“Just for the continuity of education, I think it’s good that both sides can work to an agreement,” McClure said, “and at no time did I perceive there was ever going to be any interruption of education. I felt like both sides worked together to get an agreement and settled on a fair agreement.”
PBL Education Association President Stan Daro did not immediately return messages requesting comment Thursday.
The CBA applies to employees’ salaries, benefits and working conditions, McClure said. Besides the salary raises, the agreement calls for stipends to be paid for various “extra-duty” positions, including a wrestling coach and Lego League sponsor, among others, McClure said.
The CBA also resulted in an expansion of the high school athletic director’s duties, so that John Overstreet will now be filling the role of activities director as well as athletic director.
With the expanded duties, Overstreet decided to resign from his position as coach of the boys’ and girls’ cross country teams and boys’ track team at the high school because he will no longer have time to do that job, as well.
“It’s a change. I’ll have some more time immediately after school, but my evening parts of it are still going to be similar, maybe more in some weeks than others,” Overstreet said.
The board voted 6-0 to approve the CBA, with the board’s vice president, Dave Dowling of Paxton, absent.