COLUMBIANA SCHOOLS First meeting of year to honor three retirees

Teachers will now pay 5 percent of their monthly health insurance premium. They had not contributed previously.
COLUMBIANA -- The board of education will honor district retirees at its meeting Wednesday, the first board meeting of the new school year.
The board will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the high school commons.
The retirees are Ruth Walker, a fifth-grade teacher with 19 years of service; Robert Manners, a custodian with 17 years of service; and Shirley Doward, a custodian with 21 years of service.
Meanwhile, the 70 new and returning teachers represented by the Columbiana Education Association started the 2001-02 school year last Tuesday with a new three-year contract.
Negotiators for the CEA and the board of education signed the contract Aug. 29. Superintendent Dr. Joseph Rottenborn said negotiators for both sides completed negotiations in a 10-day period in June.
Bargaining method: It was the second time the district used interest-based bargaining, which brings the bargaining units to the table closer to an agreement than in traditional methods, he explained.
Instead of each side's coming to the table with positions on different issues, the bargaining units develop areas of interest on which they can agree, he said.
Both parties might agree on improving morale and preserving harmony in the district, for example, then develop an agreement based on those interest areas, he added. The previous contract expired June 30.
The new pact began July 1 and continues through June 30, 2004. Teachers receive a 5-percent salary increase this year and 3-percent raises in the second and third years.
An entry-level teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience earns $23,058 this year compared with $21,960 in the third year of the previous contract, $23,750 in 2002-03, and $24,463 in 2003-04.
The highest-paid teaching position in Columbiana is an individual with two master's degrees and 25 years' experience. That teacher's salary will be $50,707 this year compared with $48,292 in 2000-01, $52,229 in 2002-03 and $53,797 in 2003-04.
Rottenborn said that he and the board are satisfied with the new agreement and that the teachers' salary increase is "certainly well deserved."
"Our teachers are at the heart of our students' achievement, especially with regard to proficiency test scores," he added.
Other elements: Rottenborn said teachers agreed to pay 5 percent of their monthly health insurance premium; they had not contributed previously.
Teachers also agreed to a new teacher evaluation method after extensive discussion by both parties regarding performance standards, he said.
With emphasis on improving communication, teachers agreed to expanded explanations in the contract regarding how the local professional development committee, building committees and the districtwide labor management committee will operate.

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