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Coal City board approves CBA with teachers

School safety plan also installed

COAL CITY – The Coal City Community Unit School District 1 approved a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union.

At a Special Board meeting June 3, the District 1 Board of Education approved a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Coal City Community Unit Education Association/IEA/NEA.

Both sides began the negotiations process April 4 and the process concluded when a tentative agreement was reached June 2. Both the union and the District 1 Board of Education ratified the agreement June 3.

This contract makes changes to areas of the collective bargaining agreement that both sides agreed needed to be addressed. For example, the district is starting to experience concerns with the filling and retention of various extra-curricular positions that take an extraordinary amount of time outside of the regular school day.

To help address this issue, the board agreed to increase their fiscal contribution to stipends by 10 percent, and the union agreed to redistribute that additional money among the difficult to maintain stipend positions.

Similar compromises were made to sick and personal leave language, as well as to various other areas of the contract, such as graduate coursework language and the district’s retirement incentive.

The five-year agreement provides an average salary increase of 2.78 percent for the first four years of the agreement. The salary raise for year five will be determined by the consumer price index with a 1 percent floor and a 3 percent ceiling. Tying salary raises to CPI is a standard the board has moved toward with all district compensation agreements.

At the regular meeting June 6, the board approved a new school safety plan, which includes the hiring of two full-time security officers as well as a new social worker.

“We feel that the school safety plan will go a long way toward solving problems before they happen,” board President Ken Miller said. “The extra social worker will give us one in every building, which will be a big help.”

The plan also calls for training to be provided to all staff members on how to identify and support students showing tendencies toward violence, facilitating new parent/community adult volunteer programs, limiting access points to the schools, developing a parent education program with activities and opportunities that take place throughout the school year, implementing an anonymous student reporting system, the development of an assistance program for students in grades 6 to 12, installing a panic button at the front desk of the main office of each school and installation of safety window film in various locations throughout the district.

“The safety plan is a good combination of both hardening and softening the schools,” Superintendent Kent Bugg said. “We will harden it with the school security officers and the panic buttons, and we will soften it with the extra social worker and the parent education. We are excited to get this program started.”

The board also voted to approve a three-year contract with Waste Management for waste removal services and to hire Cordogan, Clark and Associates as an architectural firm.

“We hired them to take a look at what we have and what we can improve on,” Miller said. “We aren’t looking to add on, but we want to improve what we have.”