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Education

Teacher contract talks underway in DeKalb School District 428

Board President, Tom Matya - district 428
Board President, Tom Matya - district 428

DeKALB – DeKalb School District 428 board members will have a closed meeting today to discuss ongoing negotiations with the DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association.

Beyond that, DeKalb officials are staying tight-lipped about those negotiations. Board President Tom Matya said any public comments would be made jointly with the teacher's union.

"I wanted to give the board an update on teaching negotiations, on where we're at," Matya said. "Instead of me meeting with them individually, it's easier to do this."

The current contract the District 428 school board has with the union representing more than 400 teachers was negotiated in 2008 and is set to expire in August, Superintendent James Briscoe said.

Efforts to contact Virginia Omerod, the president of DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association, were not successful.

State law allows public bodies to meet in closed session to discuss contract negotiations. School board members are not scheduled to have any public discussion or make any decisions at today's meeting. The meeting is being held at 8 a.m. at the district's Education Center, 901 S. Fourth St.

Personnel costs make up the biggest chunk of a school district's expenditures. During the 2012-13 school year, about 75 percent of the district's operating funds went to salaries and benefits – or $52.5 million out of $69.5 million.

Official projections put the school district's budget deficit for the 2013-14 school year at $2 million. The district had a $2.3 million budget deficit the past school year.

So far, the district has been using their fund reserves to cushion the impact of the budget deficit. At the end of the 2012-13 school year, district projections put the reserve fund at $8.4 million. By the end of next school year, reserves are expected to shrink to about $6.4 million.

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