The union began talks with the school board in March.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Weathersfield Local Schools Board of Education and the teachers union have gone to mediation to try to hammer out a new contract.
The first mediation session with teachers and a mediator appointed by the State Employees Relations Board (SERB) was held Tuesday, schools superintendent Michael Hanshaw said at the board's meeting Wednesday. Teachers requested that talks go to mediation after a July 11 negotiating session.
The district's 69 teachers are members of the newly-formed Mineral Ridge Educational Association, headed by president Jennifer Staunton.
The teachers worked without a contract for the 2004-05 school year, continuing under terms of their previous agreement. Teachers took a wage freeze in 2003-04 to help the district, which was under state fiscal watch. The watch was lifted last month, after passage of a 5.5 mill, five-year emergency operating levy in November and renewal of a 4.2 mill, five-year emergency operating levy in May.
The wage freeze continued last school year, although teachers did receive their indexed raises based on a previously adopted salary schedule which allows for increases based on time of service or additional education.
The union broke away from the Ohio Education Association starting in July 2003, and the board could not negotiate with them until they became a recognized union in their own right. Talks began in March.
The district's 30 nonteaching employees agreed to roll over their contract in May with no increases in salary.
In other business, the board hired Linda Frayer of Mineral Ridge as new Seaborn Elementary School secretary, effective Aug. 22, at an annual salary of $17,852.