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D65/ETAA Reach 5-year Contract Agreement

June 11, 2019

Dear District 65 Community -

Last night, the School Board approved a five-year contract agreement with the Evanston Teacher Assistants Association (ETAA). This agreement signals the district’s commitment to our paraprofessionals and recognizes the important role they play in cultivating our students’ academic and social emotional needs as well as supporting our special education and general education classrooms. In addition, we were able to come to an agreement that will not only help paraprofessionals but will most of all help us to better meet the needs of  children in District 65.

We commend the members of both teams for their collaboration, preparation, willingness to engage in difficult conversations, and professionalism from start to finish. The bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement on May 15 which was later ratified by the ETAA membership with 100% approval by voting members. The five-year agreement provides paraprofessionals in all 18 district schools with increased stability in the coming years.

Both teams agreed to participate in Interest Based Bargaining (IBB), facilitated by federal mediators, to mutually identify and problem-solve issues, interests, and options related to training, professional learning, communication, other working conditions, and compensation. Since December, teams participated in 16 bargaining sessions, in addition to a two-day intensive training. Student needs and ways in which they could be fully supported by paraprofessionals remained at the center of conversations and were continually identified as being most important by ETAA bargaining team members.

Salary was a significant issue that was mutually identified by both teams. The Board’s bargaining team acknowledged early on in the process that paraprofessionals in District 65 were underpaid compared to peer districts and remained committed to addressing this issue as part of this contract negotiation. Our paraprofessionals are extremely valued members of our District 65 community and their compensation was adjusted to reflect the level of care, commitment, and high quality service they dedicate to supporting our students and educators. In addition, it was agreed upon that a joint committee would be established to gather input, based on the needs of the district and in alignment to priorities, to develop focused and sustained professional learning opportunities for paraprofessionals. This will continue to be revisited on an annual basis.

Contract highlights have been included for your review. Once the review process has been completed by both parties, a final contract will be posted to the District 65 website at district

We are incredibly grateful for the commitment of all bargaining team members and for their ability to keep students at the center of the important discussions that took place. We hope that everyone has a relaxing, fun summer!


Paul Goren, Superintendent

Dawn Jackson, ETAA President

Suni Kartha, Board President

FY20-FY24 Contract Highlights

  • In all contract years, ETAA members will receive a 6% base increase. In addition, all returning paraprofessionals will advance one step on the salary schedule.
  • In all contract years, eligible ETAA members, who cannot advance step because they are at the end of the salary schedule, will receive a “top step” lump sum bonus (calculated on base) as part of the following tiered schedule:
    • 5.5% (2-7 years of service on top step)
    • 6.5% (8-15 years of service on top step)
    • 8% (16 years or more on top step)