By Jordan Cohen
VIENNA — Mathews teachers and the board of education have ratified a two-year contract that contains a wage freeze in the first year and a 2 percent pay raise in the second.
“The teachers agreed to the freeze as a show of support for our bond issue in November,” said Superintendent Lee Seiple.
District voters will vote on a $22.5 million bond issue to finance construction of one kindergarten-through-12th grade school that will replace all four Mathews schools.
Sandra Webber, president of the Mathews Education Association representing the district’s 66 teachers, described the union’s support as “almost overwhelming.”
Webber said the new contract, retroactive to Aug. 25, will continue the current starting salary of $29,023 and the top scale at $51,951. In 2010, the starting pay will rise to $29,604 and the top salary to $52,991.
Seiple and Webber said there was no change to the teachers’ medical benefits or their out-of-pocket premiums. The previous school year was the first in which the teachers were required to pay 5 percent of their medical premiums.
“We had to continue what we had last year because our premiums are negotiated through the Trumbull County Insurance Consortium and not with the board,” Webber said.
The consortium consists of Mathews and several other school districts, which negotiate jointly with Medical Mutual, the schools’ insurance carrier.
Teri Andrika, board treasurer, said the raises, including payments for unemployment, workers’ compensation and Medicare, will cost the district $81,000, which Seiple said were acceptable to the board.
“We couldn’t agree to it if it didn’t fit in [the budget],” Seiple said.
The superintendent says contract negotiations continue with Local 611 of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, which represents more than 40 cafeteria workers, bus drivers, secretaries, maintenance and custodial workers. The district has a student population of 900 and operates on a 183-day school year.