By Christine keeling
The Canfield Board of Education ratified contracts with three of its employee unions, saving the district $1.9 million over three years.
The contracts with the Canfield Education Association, Ohio Association of Public School Employees and Bus Drivers Association went into effect Wednesday and include pay freezes, higher contributions toward insurance premiums and staff cuts.
“We’ve had two levies, and the voters spoke loudly and clearly,” board President Brian Kesner said during a meeting Thursday. “These contracts represent significant savings.”
With one year left on its contract, the CEA — the teachers union — will receive a 1 percent delayed increase in 2011-12 salaries but agreed to concessions in the current contract that returned $250,000 to the district in surrendered pay increases.
The base salary of an entry-level teacher will reflect the delayed increase and go from $33,675 to $34,012 for the 2011-12 school year but will be frozen through the 2013-14 school year.
The 199 members of the teachers union also agreed to contribute more toward insurance premiums. The premiums paid will be 8 percent in 2011-12, 9 percent in 2012-13 and 10 percent in 2013-14.
Members’ contributions could rise to 15 percent in 2013-14 to meet provisions of Senate Bill 5.
Nonteaching staff and the bus drivers also agreed to salary concessions that will freeze base pay and salary scheduled steps through the 2013-14 school year.
Members’ insurance premium contributions will increase to 8 percent in 2011-12, 9 percent in 2012-13 and 10 percent in 2013-14.
In the new contract for OAPSE, 29 positions were cut, dropping its roster from 104 to 75, said Keith Moffo, union president.
Moffo said the decision to cut people was “heartbreaking” but that remaining employees would pick up the additional work.
Members of the administrative, supervisory and nonunion employee groups also made concessions. Their salary will remain the same, and increases in their contribution toward insurance premiums will increase at the same rate as their union co-workers.
Superintendent Dante Zambrini said the district will keep the savings outlined in a cost-reduction plan that includes pay-to-participate for athletics and club activities. Beginning this school year, middle-school children will pay $25 per club activity and $100 per sport. The fee for high-school students will be $50 per club and $200 per sport.
Zambrini said the board would make a decision in August about whether it will need to place an operating levy on the November ballot. The decision, he said, will be based on the fiscal picture and whether new revenue is needed.