WAUKEGAN, IL – Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 and the Waukegan Teachers Council (WTC, Lake County Federation of Teachers, IFT Local 504) ratified a new four-year contract, concluding negotiations that began in April 2023. Both sides ratified the agreement this week.
Highlights of the new agreement include a competitive raise, expanded mental health support for teachers and students, measures that foster greater collaboration between the school and the home, and guidelines that impart extra support for students with diverse needs and the educators who teach them. A new 35-step salary schedule also ensures a more transparent pay scale with step and lane movements for teachers.
Given the national teacher shortage and its impact in Waukegan and elsewhere, both the district administration and the union agreed to collaborate on a contract that would boost retention and ensure teachers have what they need to support Waukegan students. Salary increases for the first year, which average approximately 20%, are designed to make Waukegan more competitive with surrounding districts, and subsequent raises will help District 60 continue to recruit and retain skilled teachers.
Upon ratification, WTC President Andrew Friedlieb said, “I’m proud of our union and our district for working together to put our students first. This contract is a win for them and for our community because it offers what’s necessary to attract and retain excellent teachers. We bargained a fair agreement that gives teachers the resources and the foundation needed to give students the best support possible. This contract will make our district stronger.”
Superintendent of Schools, Theresa Plascencia shared that she is excited for this week's ratification. “I am very proud of our administration and the Teacher Union’s collaborative effort. The two teams worked very hard to reach an agreement that values our Teachers and supports the work they do to educate the children of this community,” Plascencia said. “I know I speak for our Administrative team, as well as the Board of Education when I say we’re looking forward to more competitive compensation for our frontline educators, and are excited for the continuity this agreement will bring.”
The new agreement will be retroactive to July 1, 2023, when the previous contract expired.
Waukegan Community Unit School District #60 serves approximately 14,000 students in preschool through grade 12. The District has one early learning center, 15 elementary schools, five middle schools and a high school program divided between three campuses. The District encompasses portions of Waukegan, Beach Park and Park City.
The Waukegan Teachers Council represents more than 1,150 teachers in Waukegan Community Unified School District #60. They are affiliated with the Lake County Federation of Teachers, LCFT Local 504, of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.