Youngstown school teachers pass new contract

By Denise Dick


City schoolteachers approved a new contract with the district “by a large margin,” according to a union spokeswoman.

“They’re happy that it’s settled,” said Paula Valentini, a spokeswoman for the Youngstown Education Association, the 525-member union representing the city district’s teachers, after the vote Monday night.

Superintendent Connie Hathorn was pleased the teachers approved the tentative agreement.

“I appreciate the teachers working with us to get this done,” he said.

The school board is expected to vote today on the proposal.

“I’m glad it’s over, and now we can concentrate on academics,” Hathorn said.

Neither side divulged the contents of the three-year agreement, but it’s said to include a 2 percent pay increase each year and require teachers to pay a 10 percent health insurance contribution. That percentage will be capped at about $2,000 — something that had been an issue in negotiations. Teachers now pay a percentage of salary toward their health-care premiums: 1.57 percent for family plans and 0.785 percent for the single plan.

Beginning teachers earn $29,885, while senior teachers, or those with 24 years of service and a doctorate, earn about $66,000 annually. The average teacher salary is $53,355.

The tentative agreement also adds a new step for senior teachers at the top of the pay scale.

The last three-year contract provided 1 percent pay increases each year. That followed seven years of freezes on base pay.

Teachers have been working without a contract since June 30, when the previous pact expired.

Last August, the union authorized its negotiating team to issue a 10-day intent-to-strike notice.

Later that month, after a marathon bargaining session with the district, the teachers agreed to work at least through Sept. 30 under terms of their old contract. The union implemented a work-to-rule status, asking members to do nothing extra but to work just the contracted hours.

Negotiating teams for both sides, along with a federal mediator, have met periodically since then.

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