DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The Decatur Public Schools Board of Education approved to ratify a four-year contract with SEIU Local #73 Custodians.

Officials said the contract is with the group’s “A” Team. They said this came after four months of negotiations. “This was a unique time to negotiate a contract, since we couldn’t meet in person,” said Board of Education member Beth Creighton, who represented the board on the negotiating team. “But throughout the negotiation process, everyone involved was willing to do what it took to come to an agreement…I’m very pleased with this outcome, which I think will serve both our custodial staff and our District well for the next four years.” Negotiations started on February 3 and an agreement was reached on June 8. Officials said the current collective bargaining agreement is set to end on June 30.

The agreement was approved by union members on June 13. “We appreciate the dedication of our custodial staff, especially during these past few months that have certainly not been business as usual,” said DPS Director of Buildings and Grounds Steve Kline,” Our custodians will continue to play a major role this summer as we get our school buildings ready for the fall.”

The new agreement is effective July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2024. Wage increases in Years 1 and 2 are 2.75 percent while Years 3 and 4 are 2.5 percent. Officials said it also includes the same standard health insurance plans given to teachers, maintenance and security staff, teamsters and all non-union groups, including principals and administrators. SEIU members will also be part of interview panels for new head custodial hires.