Youngstown school board OKs 2 new contracts


By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

The school board approved two new contracts with two unions, both calling for no cost-of-living increases and an increased health-care contribution from employees.

The board approved the three-year agreements at a regular meeting Tuesday with the five building-trade unions and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1143. Both pacts run through Jan. 31, 2015.

The contracts call for the employees to pay 10 percent of the health-care premium cost, up from 1.23 percent of their salary for a family plan and 0.65 percent of their salary for a single plan.

Mark Snyder, president of AFSCME Local 1143, which includes about 380 secretaries, food-service workers, bus drivers and custodians, said that with a levy renewal before voters in November, the union wanted to do its part to try to help the district.

The pay for AFSCME members ranges from about $12.79 per hour for a cafeteria worker to about $48,480 annually for a custodian at the top of the pay scale.

Without levy passage, the district likely will be in deficit spending this school year, which began July 1. The levy originally passed in 2008. If renewed, it would continue to generate about $5.3 million annually for four more years.

The trade unions include about eight plumbers, electricians and carpenters.

Lock P. Beachum Sr., school-board president, thanked the unions for their help. The district still expects some cuts, however, he said.

“It’s not over with,” Beachum said. “Our finances have been good, but we are still down in our finances. There’s still no light at the end of the tunnel.”

Blaise Karlovic, the district’s interim treasurer, said there also are some cost strategies the district can employ to produce savings. He mentioned requiring bids for all projects in the district, not just those where the law requires bids be submitted.

A second reading on the levy renewal is expected either at a special meeting or the board’s next regular meeting Aug. 7.

The board must have the millage of the levy certified by the Mahoning County Auditor’s office for a second vote. That’s expected this week.

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