The board president said he felt employees deserved a small raise.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Costs in the city school district will rise $3.6 million in the next three years for increased salaries, fringe benefits and longevity pay for all nonteaching employees.
The board of education ratified contracts this week giving unions representing nonteaching employees about 13 percent in pay raises over three years. The increased costs also represent pay raises and other increased benefits for nonunion employees.
The union workers are represented by crafts unions and the district chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Workers will receive 5 percent, 4 percent, and 4 percent, respectively, in each of the next three years. Workers ratified contracts earlier this month. The board approved them Tuesday.
The contracts maintain health insurance plans and workers will not make contributions toward health care premiums. AFSCME workers also receive longevity pay, said Tony DeNiro Jr., the district's executive director of school business affairs.
Members of AFSCME include cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, educational assistants and secretaries. Those in crafts unions are painters, electricians, carpenters and plumbers.
Costs for all nonteacher salaries (including nonunion employees) in 2002-2003 are $10.7 million. They are estimated to be at $12.1 million in 2005-2006, district projections show.
During the three-year contract that expired last month, union workers received 2 percent, 2 percent and 2.5 percent raises, DeNiro said.
"We thought our employees deserved a small increase," said board president Lock P. Beachum Sr.
Beachum said the request for raises was conservative. He said it was more than the previous contract because the district was in fiscal emergency during the last round of negotiations.
Treasurer Carolyn Funk said that not all salary tables have been calculated but that the increases fall within the district's five-year budget forecast. The 13 percent total increase was built into forecasts for this and the next three years, she said. Increased health insurance costs also were built in, she said.
Funk said the district's health insurance costs will rise about 6 percent this year, based on recommendations of a consultant. The district is self-insured, she said, and the increase is kept in check because the balance of the insurance fund is ample.
DeNiro said negotiations with the teachers union begin later this month. Their contract expires Aug. 31. During negotiations three years ago, teachers received the same percent increases as the AFSCME workers.