Eastwood approves contract & raises
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Thursday, 06 June 2013 10:40
PEMBERVILLE - Eastwood teachers have a new three-year contract that allows an increase in base salaries for the first time in three years.
The board of education unanimously approved the contract this morning.
Members of the Eastwood Education Association approved the contract, which runs from July 1, 2013 to Aug. 30, 2016, last Thursday.
The last contract was for two years and got a one-year rollover. While there were no base salary increases in that deal, step increases for years of service and education advancement were still given
With the new contract, base pay will increase 2.5 percent in the first year and 1.75 percent in each of the following two years.
"Everybody will see that increase," according to Superintendent Brent Welker.
"It's a modest increase, not a big increase. The insurance was huge for us," he stated.
"I think it's fair to both sides," said Sherri Sheffler, school board president.
The district can "absolutely" afford the deal. "Sadly, unlike a lot of schools around. We have the blessing to be able to afford it for teachers who richly deserve it," she added.
The substantial change comes in the area of insurance
The district has doubled the out-of-pocket costs to teachers for deductibles. Teachers now will pay more toward the premium cost as well as the cost of office visits, said Welker.
He did not have the exact amount of the increase, given the number of single and family insurance options offered in the district.
Each family plan will cost the district $120 less per year, he added.
The district had budgeted a 9-percent increase in insurance costs.
The increase in the teachers' coverage "is important, because since 2006, our cost had increased per family plan by roughly 50 percent," Welker said.
"This allows us to bend the curve on the increase in insurance costs."
He estimated savings from this change would be $110,000 in the first year.
During the 2012-13 school year, the district paid out $1.5 million toward insurance for both classified and certified staff, Welker said.
"As a result of negotiations, our five-year forecast remains unchanged and the district will not need to pursue any new operating money until 2017."
He added, "We're in good shape."
"We thought it was a very fair contract and has the district moving forward in the right direction," said Donna Schuessler, co-president for the union.
Of the 91 members in the union, "it was like a 100 percent yes vote."
She added, "The union was very positive when we saw the contract."
Welker said the two sides were able to come to an agreement "in a couple intense days."
It was "a strong give and take from both sides."
The contract also includes some staff training changes.
Also at this morning's meeting, the board approved a one-year supplemental contract for Stephanie Schneider-Sims as high school head varsity cross country coach; and accepted a donation of $6,000 from CAP for the high school weight room.