By Susan Tebben
The final step in a long negotiation process finally was resolved at the Austintown Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.
Board members approved a negotiated agreement with the Austintown Education Association for a three-year teacher contract that was ratified by the teachers union Monday night.
“We’re happy to have this step done and happy to reward the teachers,” said Superintendent Vincent Colaluca, echoing his statements from Monday.
Board members Kathy Mock, David Ritchey and Tom Stellers voted yes to the contract, while Harold Porter and Dave Schnurrenberger abstained because they have spouses in the school system.
The three-year pact includes a retroactive 1.95-percent increase to teachers’ base salaries, including teachers who would have received the raises after the contract expired in May 2012. The increase applies to the first year of teaching. After the first year, increases are contingent on state biennial budget funds. Teachers will receive another 1.95-percent increase if the budget generates $1.5 million or more in nonrestricted funds.
“It all depends on the money we get from the state budget,” Colaluca said.
Teachers’ base salary with the increase is now $30,317. With 28 years’ experience and a bachelor’s degree, teachers are paid $56,874, according to the salary schedule included in the contract.
A 10-percent health- insurance co-pay for teachers remains in the contract, and premium holidays are included from Stark County Insurance Consortium.
Part of the contract was a point of contention outside of the negotiation room and came up during Tuesday night’s meeting. Teachers from all grades now will be a part of lunchtime supervision, along with about 20 paraprofessionals who are a part of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees.
Some OAPSE members rallied at the negotiations in February to show the district they did not want to lose jobs to teachers. Some also came to the board meeting.
“What about us?” one member said in the meeting as Colaluca addressed the contract.
“We are still in negotiation with the OAPSE team,” Colaluca said, adding that the consolidation of schools requires more staff to cover the lunches. “We’re going to need a lot.”
OAPSE meets with the district about contract negotiations April 9, Colaluca said.