After a year of negotiating, more than 100 Winnebago teachers have a new contract and they get a raise, but the agreement barely passed through District 323's Board of Education. Four to three was the vote and according to Superintendent Dennis Harezlak, the teachers' union had nearly a split decision as well.
"It was a very difficult decision for both, but the good thing is we have an agreement going into the summer, which means at the beginning of the year we have a contract for this next year and we're all happy to have that." -he says.
It's a two year contract, retroactive to July of this past summer.
"Teachers get step and lane and the base goes up half a percent each year and then teachers get a one-time bonus of $500 in each year." -says Harezlak.
Winnebago Education Association teachers' union members say they're ready to move forward. It was a long process and they thank both negotiating teams for putting a deal together. School Board President Christopher Schoenweiss was one of three 'no' votes.
"All I can say is that we're glad it was passed and it's behind us."
He would've liked a change in the numbers.
"My personal opinion is unfortunately it doesn't seem like it's enough. Our teachers do a great job here." -he explains.
Harezlak says they would've liked to give even bigger raises, but like many area school districts, Winnebago is seeing a decrease in state aid.
"There's only so much money to give and that was the difficult thing."
The full contract will be up on the district's website Tuesday.
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