BATAVIA – The Batavia Board of Education unanimously approved a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the Batavia Education Support Professional Association that includes marginal yearly salary increases for each employee to meet the state's minimum wage requirements.
"This contract recommendation comes to you having been ratified by the membership of BESPA at 98%," Batavia Public School District Chief Financial Officer Tony Inglese said prior to the vote.
The agreement, which will span July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2025, ensures each employee shall receive an hourly pay increase of 65 cents in each year of the contract.
Illinois law requires gradual increases to the minimum wage until it reaches $15 by Jan. 2025.
"This keeps all of our positions ahead of those minimum wage requirements and fully phases it in 2025 when the contract would end," Inglese said.
Starting positions rates will increase 57 cents per year.
"So, that way, folks who have seniority in their positions don't necessarily get outpaced by people who might be new [in] starting positions," Inglese continued.
Other aspects of the contract includes formalizing benefit language that mirrors their Batavia Education Association contract, which Inglese explained that all of their employees will have contractually the same benefit opportunities and programs.
The agreement also formalizes existing collaborative structures and committees, and a requirement to collaboratively review job descriptions and training needs each year.
The agreement brings a total salary increase in the first year of the contract of 4.9%, but it will decrease to 3.6% in the final year, Inglese said.
"Overall, we're very pleased with how this contract worked out. We're very pleased with the work we have been able to accomplish with BESPA. We think this is a great deal for the district as a whole and our BESPA employees," Inglese said.
The Board approved a flurry of agreements in the consent agenda, including a one-year extension with Quest Food Management Services with a fixed meal rate of 3%.
"We expect to spend approximately $1,218,000 on the food service contract during the 20-21 school year (should it be a 'regular' school year)," the agenda report states. "This amount includes the elementary and middle schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program, as well as Batavia High School, which does not."
Lunch and breakfast price increases were also approved to be compliant with NSLP rules. Per the report, NSLP schools must have charged a weighted average of at least $3.09 for the 2019-20 school year.
The District's weighted average for K-8 lunches in 19-20 was $2.95, the report states.
Lunch at all school levels for 2020-21 school year was increased by 10 cents, and breakfast prices were elevated by 30 cents at the elementary & middle school levels.