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Administrators, noncertified staff get raises in Dixon

Some members vote against prevailing wage resolution

DIXON – The school board approved up to 2 percent raises for its administrators and nonunion support staff for next school year.

The vote was taken at the board’s meeting late Wednesday.

The Dixon School Board recently gave its administrators and nonunion support staff – hourly employees such as custodians, clerical staff and nurses – a 2 percent raise, retroactive to the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

The district also is asking nonunion support staff to pay $10 more per month in health insurance premiums for single coverage and $30 for family coverage.

The board sets salary and benefits for these two groups on a yearly basis.

The district’s paraprofessionals union, consisting of teachers assistants and aides, still are without a contract. Negotiations remain in mediation; financials are the sticking point, Superintendent Michael Juenger said.

Under the former contract, paraprofessionals are paid hourly starting at $8.50 per hour. They are given a raise of 20 cents an hour each year, and 25 cents more an hour if they gain 75-plus hours of further education or training.

Paraprofessionals pay $25 a month for individual health insurance coverage and $75 a month for family coverage, with a $500 deductible.

Juenger has said the district wants to reach a fair agreement, in line with other employees’ contracts.

In their recent 4-year contract, Dixon teachers received a 2 percent pay increase for this school year and a 2 percent pay increase each of the next 2 years, plus step increases, which average to about 2 percent for some teachers, based on experience and education.

In the final year of the contract, teachers receive a 1 percent increase, plus step increases.

Both the paraprofessionals’ union and the board have agreed not to release details, such as proposed pay, until an agreement is reached.

Also Wednesday, board member Jim Schielein voted against a prevailing wages resolution and board member John Jacobs abstained, a day after four county board members voted “no” against the resolution for that entity.

Governing bodies in Illinois are required to pay the prevailing wage rates in public work projects, even those handled by contractors.

The department of labor sets the scale and projects could be in jeopardy if these wages are not met.

“In these economic times, every move increases costs,” Schielein said. “I’m all for safety, and doing these things right, that’s not the issue. We’re not getting a say.”

Jacobs called the proposal “blackmail.”

Business Manager David Blackburn, also Dixon’s commissioner of finance, offered another perspective, saying prevailing wages assures skilled labor can be hired for projects.

The City Council passed the prevailing wages resolution unanimously.

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