DIXON – A tentative contract agreement with the school district’s paraprofessionals union was reached Thursday – just 4 days before the first day of classes.
The Dixon Educational Support Personnel Association, the paraprofessionals union, represents teachers aides and assistants. Members could vote to ratify the agreement Tuesday, Superintendent Michael Juenger said.
The school board then will call a special meeting soon after to approve it.
The district will not share details of the contract until DESPA ratifies it, Juenger said.
Paraprofessionals worked all of last year without a contract and asked for mediation about 2 months ago. The union represents 48 full- and 16 part-time paraprofessionals.
Members agreed not to negotiate while talks with the Dixon Education Association dragged into March and spurred a strike that canceled 9 days of classes. Paraprofessionals remained at work during the strike to run the district’s child care program.
The district had since reached agreements with its other district employees. Each group received a pay raise of about 2 percent, which gave a starting point to talks with DESPA, Juenger said back in June.
Under the former contract, paraprofessionals’ pay started at $8.50 an hour. They are given a raise of 20 cents an hour each year, and an additional 25 cents an hour if they gain 75-plus hours of further education or training.
Paraprofessionals paid $25 a month for individual health insurance coverage and $75 a month for family coverage, with a $500 deductible.
DESPA members at Wednesday’s school board meeting asked for higher pay, more in line with their college training.
“What other job requires college and starts at minimum wage?” asked Teresa Wells, a paraprofessional at Reagan Middle School.
Mindy Donoho, DESPA president, could not be reached by phone Friday.