JACKSON-MILTON School board accepts new contract

Employees will begin making small health-care premium contributions.
LAKE MILTON -- The Jackson-Milton school board has approved a three-year contract granting 3 percent annual pay increases to its secretaries, food service workers, bus drivers, classroom aides and custodians.
The 60 employees, represented by the Ohio Association of Public School Employees union, range in annual pay from $3,312 for the lowest paid part-time cook to $25,292 for the highest paid full-time custodian. The union workers unanimously ratified the contract, which is retroactive to July 1, on Aug. 9, said school Superintendent Warne Palmer.
For the first time, the employees will begin contributing toward their combined health and life insurance premiums at the monthly rate of $10 for single coverage and $25 for family coverage. The board pays premiums of $661 a month per employee for single coverage and $1,577 a month for family coverage. The health insurance includes drug, medical, dental and vision care.
Contract details
In the new contract, which the board ratified Thursday, new employees hired after July 1 of this year and working between 20 and 35 hours a week will be eligible only for single coverage paid for by the board. Under the old contract, they could get board-paid family coverage, even if they only worked 20 hours a week. New full-timers working 35 or more hours a week still can get family coverage paid for by the board.
The new contract also switches the employees from a traditional health insurance plan, under which they got equal coverage no matter what doctors or hospitals they used, to a preferred provider organization, under which they'll get fuller coverage if they go to the preferred doctors or hospitals belonging to the plan.
The switch to the PPO will save the district more than $125,000 a year for all of the district's employees, said John Zinger, treasurer.
The first day of school for teachers will be Aug. 30, and the first day for students will be Sept. 8.
The next school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the elementary school and will include a one-hour roundtable discussion of levy and bond issue options and future visions for the schools. Three years ago, the voters turned down a 10-mill bond issue that would have gone toward replacement of both the elementary and high school buildings.

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