DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Grade School District 58 Board of Education approved a four-year collective bargaining agreement with the Downers Grove Educational Support Personnel association during the board’s July 8 meeting.
The agreement comes after five months of negotiation sessions.
“The DGESP team members and administrators worked collaboratively to create a new contract that offers competitive raises and benefits, and addresses several needs that were raised by the DGESP leadership during negotiations,” said Jayne Yudzentis, assistant superintendent for personnel. “We are proud of what we were able to accomplish together, and appreciate the strong support by the Board of Education for dedicating funding to assist us in reaching our goal.”
The DGESP ratified the contract June 6 with a unanimous vote. The DGESP includes District 58’s full-time and part-time secretaries and instructional assistants.
“The team worked together to create a document that was fair to all; member and district alike,” said Emily Honn, DGESP president and an instructional assistant at Herrick Middle School. “We believe the final product accomplished that goal. The new contract acknowledges the hard work and dedication our members provide every day to the students and staff of District 58. We are very proud of the work that was done.”
The new DGESP contract offers:
• More competitive starting salaries, which increase each year of the contract ($13.50, $14, $14 and $15 an hour).
• Annual salary increases.
• An increased contribution by the Board of Education toward instructional assistant health insurance premiums as well as a secretarial health insurance cost shift with an increased contribution by secretaries that maintains their high level of benefits.
• DGESP participation on the newly established district health and wellness committee. This committee reviews and monitors the status of the district’s health insurance coverage and examines possible cost containment options.
• Employee retirement benefit retention, while also protecting the district from additional costs associated with Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund penalties.
• A $50,000 life insurance benefit to all DGESP staff at no cost to the employee.
• Increased opportunities for instructional assistants to participate in professional learning and collaboration activities.
• Revisions to contract language in an effort to increase understanding of the various contract provisions.