Education

D233 board approves new bargaining unit

After three years of negotiations, the Homewood-Flossmoor Classified Staff Organization has a five-year contract with District 233.  

The bargaining unit was approved at the Tuesday, June 18, board meeting. The newly organized unit represents 18 H-F staff members and is part of the National Education Association/Illinois Education Association. 

The contract is backdated to 2022 and extends to 2027. During negotiations staff members did not receive any salary increases. Under this agreement, they will be receiving back pay for 2022-23, 2023-2024 of 5%, another 5% salary increase for 2024-25, a 4% increase for 2025-26 and a salary range of 3 to 5% in 2026-27 depending on the consumer price index.

Superintendent Scott Wakeley credited Chief School Business Official Lawrence Cook for his work in negotiating the agreement for secretaries, administrative assistants, nurses, information technology staff and others.

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Wakeley called it “a journey, a long journey and any time you start from scratch it takes longer, and the process galvanized people together. Sometimes it’s hard to put words to paper on how you operationalize appreciation and thank you and all those things that go into it.  

“Our support staff, our classified staff, everybody – we talk a lot about teachers and administrators, but we can’t do any of the work that we do without support,” he said. “This does set the foundation for future ongoing work together.” 

“It’s a new unit. They proceeded with caution and spent a lot of time back and forth,” Cook said. He called it “a good learning process” for all concerned. 

The board is still negotiating a new contract with its NEA/IEA teachers and instructional assistants union. H-F also has a maintenance staff union and a support staff union made up of clerical staff.

Associate superintendent leaves

In other business, the board wished outgoing Associate Principal Shannon Swilley well. He leaves H-F after two years. He had worked on equity, curriculum and instruction. The position is only posted on the H-F website as one that will be filled from within the H-F staff.

2 interim HR directors

The board also hired two retired school superintendents to work as directors of human resources after the current director resigned. Tim Kilrea and James Gay will each work approximately 100 days during the next school year. Both have served as HR directors previously. The cost of their contracts was not made available.

Strategic Plan adopted

The board adopted its strategic plan for the next five years.  The plan sets a variety of goals to meet by 2029:

  • 80% of H-F students will meet Illinois College and Career Ready Indicator making them eligible for Illinois Distinguished Scholar distinction through H-F’s academic and career preparation programs.
  • H-F will develop and implement funding sources for programs and facilities based on identified needs and priorities using efficient financial management.
  • Deepen collaboration with feeder schools, families and the community to improve student outcomes.
  • Prioritize professional excellence and have 100% of staff engage in comprehensive professional learning emphasizing cultural proficiency and a diverse and inclusive staff.
  • Allow students to provide input and influence school procedures, increasing student engagement, responsibility an ownership of their education.

The staff will be developing action plans for the strategic plan at workshops in July. The strategic plan will be implemented starting with the next school year.

Development of the strategic plan was led by Greg Hutchings of Revolutionary ED LLC, who led discussions with groups of stakeholders at five meetings during the 2023-24 school year. He asked participants to think about what they wanted for Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the future. 

His approach was that if H-F can achieve these goals, then the school will retain its outstanding status and students will meet achievement targets. He stressed the need for partnerships between District 161 in Flossmoor and District 153 in Homewood and that communications should be strengthened between H-F and the community.

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