SCHOOLS Canfield employees to get 2% raise

The school board will buy two buses to bolster its aging fleet.
CANFIELD -- Mirroring the request of the teachers union, the unions representing bus drivers and school classified employees requested a one-year contract extension with a 2 percent raise.
School board members approved a memorandum of understanding to that effect with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees and the Bus Drivers Association at a meeting Wednesday.
School officials at the meeting didn't know the pay rates of the affected employees.
The 100 OAPSE members and 32 bus drivers unanimously approved the extension, which stretches the pacts through the 2005 to 2006 school year.
At a meeting last month, the board approved the same extension and increase for the roughly 195 unionized teachers in the Canfield Education Association.
Members of all three unions got a 3.25 percent increase for this school year.
"It's in the best interest of the school district," Superintendent Dante Zambrini said. "They realize what we have to spend, and they have not asked for more than that."
Richard Archer, school district business manager, also thanked the unions.
"We appreciate the cooperation of the leaders and the membership of all of the organizations," Archer said.
In 2003, the union switched from a traditional health insurance plan to a preferred provider plan that was projected to save the district thousands.
Board members also approved Archer's recommendation to buy two new buses from Myers Equipment, Canfield, for $60,359 each.
"We're badly in need of two buses," he said, referring to an aging fleet.
The district may have the buses before the start of the 2005 to 2006 school year.
One of the buses being replaced will likely be retired, and the district will probably keep the second as a spare, the business manager said.
"We would not be spending money if we didn't have to," Zambrini said. "This is a necessity."
He cited the age of buses and wear and tear from road salt. The district actually needs four new buses, the superintendent said.
"Two buses keeps us moving and in a safe direction, but it's not optimal," Zambrini said.

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