TEACHERS Pay scale will not increase

The union wants to help the district in its time of need, an official said.
AUSTINTOWN -- School officials say they've reached an agreement with the teachers union that is critical to the financial future of the district.
The agreement, which the school board is slated to approve at its meeting tonight, states that the pay scale for teachers will not be increased next school year. That means teachers will not receive pay raises except for those based on seniority and increases in their level of education. State law says the school board must use experience and level of education to help determine salary.
The meeting is slated to be held at 7:30 p.m. at Davis Elementary School on North Roanoke Avenue. A public work session will precede the meeting at 6:30 p.m.
Under their contract, teachers received 3.5 percent raises in addition to raises for experience and level of education this school year. The three-year contract, which took effect in 2002-03, did not set teachers' salaries for next school year; instead, it required teachers to negotiate with school officials to determine their salaries.
Superintendent Stan Watson called the agreement "crucial" and noted "we've got very difficult financial times ahead." The district's last five-year financial forecast, submitted to the state in April, shows it will have a $2.1 million deficit at the end of next year.
The board also is expected to vote to update the forecast tonight.
Bill Iagulli, president of the teachers union, the Austintown Education Association, said the union voted unanimously to accept the agreement on the raises. Iagulli noted the union wanted to help the district in its time of need.
"We know the school system's in financial trouble, so we're going to do our part to help them out," he said.
Watson added that the district's administrators and nonunion employees also have agreed not to take raises next year, and school officials also are asking secretaries, janitors, bus drivers and other employees represented by the Ohio Association of Public School Employees to not take raises next year.
The district's three-year contract with OAPSE also requires the union to negotiate salaries for next year, Watson said.
The numbers
Total wages and benefits in the district are expected to increase from $30.3 million in 2002-03 to $31.5 million this year because every district employee received a 3.5- to 4-percent raise this year, school financial records show.
That figure represents 84 percent of the $37.6 million the district is expected to spend.
The Ohio Education Association Web site shows that the average salary for Austintown teachers last year was $46,335, sixth-highest among the 16 school districts and educational facilities in Mahoning County. The Mahoning County Career and Technical Center ($51,605) and the Boardman ($50,514), Poland ($49,257) Canfield ($49,216) and Struthers ($46,440) school districts paid higher average salaries.
The Web site also shows that the average administrator's salary in Austintown for 2002-03 was $65,171, second in the county to Canfield ($67,162), while other staff, such as cafeteria workers, secretaries, and janitors, had an average salary of $23,051, the most in the county.

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