No new Youngstown teacher talks scheduled

By Denise Dick


City schoolteachers continue to work under the terms of the contract that expired last June while they await completion of an audit of the school district’s self-funded health care plan.

In late August, shortly before the start of the new school year, the Youngstown Education Association, the union representing 525 school district teachers, and the administration agreed for the union to conduct the audit at its expense. As part of the agreement, the teachers agreed to work at least through Sept. 30.

Paula Valentini, a YEA spokeswoman, said the teachers await completion of the audit and no new talks have been scheduled pending its completion.

She said it’s unknown when the audit will be done.

Karen Green, assistant superintendent of human resources, said a tentative date has been set for negotiations later this month, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

“Hopefully, we’ll have resolution to this soon,” she said.

The work-to-rule provision — meaning teachers work only their contracted hours — remains in effect, Valentini said.

A main issue in the talks has been health care.

The board initially asked teachers to agree to pay 15 percent of their health care premiums, then lowered that request to 12 percent, according to what the union has said.

But teachers worry that the percentages pertain to an unknown future total premium dollar amount.

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, she said.

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

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