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School staff settles on a contract

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The school board ratified one of its two employee contracts this week with the local Ohio Association of Public School Employees, or the certified staff union. An agreement was reached within two meetings, and ratified 3–0 by the school board at a special meeting on Monday, June 27. Board members Benji Maruyama, Angela Wright and Aïda Merhemic voted for the contract. Board President Sean Creighton and member Richard Lapedes were out of town.

The OAPSE contract is a two-year agreement with a one-time $600 stipend paid during the first year of the contract to each of the district’s 60 certified staff members. While the former three-year contract included a 4 percent salary increase the first year, followed by two three-percent increases the two subsequent years, the current contract includes 0 percent salary increases both years and no step increases either year. The contract also reduces the district–employee health insurance premium ratio from 90–10 percent for a family plan and 95–5 percent for a single payer down to 85–15 percent for all certified staff. And the certified staff members agreed to waive their $500 annual flexible spending accounts for healthcare expenses.

OAPSE President Nancy Bussey said that “negotiations went well.”

District Superintendent Mario Basora was pleased with the process, which included cooperative work and swift action to reach agreement before the state budget changes could alter expectations, he said this week. The zero percent salary increase “makes a big difference” in the budget because the increases won’t compound on themselves each year, he said. And the elimination of step increases also reduces the yearly salary increase, which averaged out to 1.9 percent per employee in past years.

Due to the deficit spending the district anticipates for the next several years, Basora said that the district’s four administrators plan to accept the same financial concessions over the next two years of their contracts as well. Those concessions include zero salary and step increases, the new insurance premium breakdown and no flex spending accounts.

The district continues negotiations with the teachers’ union.


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