Teachers in BG get pay hikes
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Thursday, 27 March 2014 10:40
Bowling Green teachers have a three-year contract including a pay increase because of the increasing health of the district's finances.
The district's 198 teachers will receive a salary boost of 2.25 percent for each of the three years of the contract, though they will not get step increases.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the deal with the Bowling Green Education Association on Wednesday.
The agreement will run from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2017.
The current one-year contract expires June 30. The deal was reached in one day.
"We're happy that both sides reached an agreement pretty quickly," said board President Steve Cernkovich.
Superintendent Ann McVey called it "a focused collaborative discussion with the financial well being of the district in mind."
Jeff Nichols, union president, said it was "a very long day" but that much of the language had been negotiated during last year's talks.
Longevity increases were not part of the deal, according to Treasurer Rhonda Melchi.
"Because the teachers are not getting step increases, the 2.25 percent somewhat compensates for that but not completely," she said.
Eighty-five percent of union members voted on March 20, with 54 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed, said Nichols, who is in his 11th year as union president.
The additional cost to the district in the first year of the contract is approximately $250,000, Melchi added. "We can cover it," she said about the increased expensed.
Teachers also are being asked to pay higher deductibles for medical care.
When the one-year contract was agreed upon in 2013, all teaching, classified and administrative staff accepted salary freezes along with increases in health insurance premium contributions, the loss of vision coverage and the reduction in severance pay at retirement for unused sick days.
That contract was for one year because of the uncertainty of available funding.
During the past year, several positions were eliminated including a principal, high school dean of students, two building substitutes, a custodian and a full-time secretary. Another administrative position had been eliminated earlier in the year. Supply budgets were further reduced 20 percent. Less experienced staff replaced the 20-plus employees who retired at the end of the 2012-2013 school year also resulting in savings for the district, according to a press release issued by administrators.
"Financial planning allowed us to do this," said McVey. "The teachers in the district have continued to work hard with more requirements, and are dedicated professionals dedicated to the well being of the district."
The release went on to state the district's operating revenue took a turn in the right direction after the state legislature adopted the biennial budget late in June 2013. Funding for the district increased approximately $500,000 for the 2013-2014 school year and is expected to increase another $500,000 next school year. A full year of casino revenue distributions also was realized in the current school year allowing the district to project the amounts to expect in the future. With the economy coming out of the recession, the district's school district income tax collections climbed back to pre-recession levels. Also added was a $70,000 rebate from the Bureau of Workers Compensation, according to the press release.
"The board of education could not predict such positive revenue changes when it had to meet filing deadlines for placing a levy on the May 2013 ballot," the release stated.
The board also has applied to the Auditor of State's office to conduct a performance audit to determine if other cost-saving measures can be recommended.
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 March 2014 11:29