Niles schools sign new contract with secretaries

Published 5:13 pm Thursday, December 19, 2013

Niles Community Schools secretaries won’t be getting a raise, but they will be receiving other benefits based on a new contract ratified by the school board this week.

The contract, which runs through 2016, allows secretaries to get up to $1,000 in merit pay based on the results of annual evaluations.

The secretaries also entered into a revenue sharing plan with the district, meaning they will get more money if the district sees an increase in enrollment or income.

“We all worked really well together and felt that the contract was fair,” said Julie Poole, Oak Manor secretary. “We both gave and took and tried to work as best we could to come up with something that was fair and reasonable for our secretaries.”

Secretaries will also pay slightly less in insurance as the district decided to offer the same insurance plan to secretaries, administrators, administrative assistants and custodians.

“By pooling that together and getting a bigger pool we were able to get a better price,” said Supt. Richard Weigel.

In addition, secretaries also received an increase to their longevity bonuses. The bonuses are paid out based on how long a secretary has worked in the district. For instance, if a secretary has been working 10-14 years they get an additional $250.

Weigel was complimentary of the way the secretaries union worked with the school district.

“We did this with no union personnel and no lawyer. It was just a couple of secretaries, myself and one other administrator,” he said. “It was amicable, we worked together, we had good dialogue and it was extremely effective.”

Board member Jon Martin was also pleased with the process.

“I appreciate equally the civil and respectable way in which the contract terms were reached, agreed upon and will serve as a foundation going forward,” he wrote.

“This approach saved both the district and the secretarial group time, money and unnecessary expenditure of energies providing a better focus on the students.”

There are 23 secretaries in the district.

Their last contract expired in June.