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District 427 plans meeting on teachers' contract for Friday

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 5:50 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 11:17 p.m. CST

SYCAMORE – Sycamore School District 427 on Tuesday released an agenda for a special school board meeting Friday that includes an item to reapprove a contract between the district and its teachers union.

The meeting will be at 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Administration Building, 245 W. Exchange St. in Sycamore.

The district’s first approval of the contract came at a meeting last week, which the school district held without notifying the Daily Chronicle.

The failure to notify the Chronicle was an apparent violation of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, which requires public bodies to give notice of special meetings to all news media that file an annual request for notice, which the Daily Chronicle sent to the school district in January. District officials contacted school board members but did not notify the newspaper.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said last week that she had received the Daily Chronicle’s annual request and the district’s failure to notify the newspaper was unintentional.

Eric Olson, editor of the Daily Chronicle, said the newspaper was not asking for special treatment, simply for the notice it requested in accordance with the state’s Open Meetings Act.

“I appreciate the District 427 school board’s decision to hold another meeting to approve this contract,” Olson said. “It shows they have respect for the rules governing public access to meetings. I believe this was an honest mistake, and I’m glad district officials are addressing it in an honest manner.”

At the special meeting held Thursday, school board members voted 5-0 to approve a contract between the district and the Sycamore Education Association, which has 300 members.

District officials said the 4-year contract freezes teacher salaries for the coming school year, but offers raises of 1.5 percent and 3 percent to the base salary schedule in years three and four. Teachers would receive a seniority based “step increase” in the second year of the deal.

Attempts to reach Countryman, Sycamore Education Association President Carol Meeks and school board President Jim Dombek on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

If you goWhat: Sycamore School District 427 special meetingWhen: 7:30 a.m. FridayWhere: 245 W. Exchange St., Sycamore

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