The Archbold Education Association and Archbold Area School Board approved a one-year freeze in base pay as part of a new three-year master contract.
The board approved the contract at its Monday night, June 21, meeting, after about an hour-and-a-half in executive session. The AEA had already approved the agreement.
“For the second time in seven years, the Archbold Education Association has taken a pay freeze on the base salary, being mindful of the economic climate, as well as the concerns of the district and its constituents, while continuing our record of educational excellence in teaching the children of Archbold,” said John Downey, AEA president.
The AEA represents school district teachers and certified staff in negotiations with the school board. The new contract is effective Aug. 1, 2010 through July 31, 2013.
Scott Miller, president of the school board, said, “We are most grateful to our teachers for their sensitivity to the current economic climate within our community and their willingness to adjust accordingly.
“The ability to come to agreement on this contract was a positive and beneficial process that was greatly appreciated,” he said.
Teachers receive increases in their paychecks in two ways.
One way is through step increases on the district’s salary schedule.
Teachers are rewarded for years of service, or advanced degrees, through a salary schedule. For a year of service, a teacher moves up a step on the schedule.
If there is a raise in pay associated with that step, the teacher will get the pay hike.
During last school year, the average step increase was 1.79%.
An advanced degree moves a teacher higher on the schedule.
However, not all steps have pay raises. A teacher may serve an additional year, but receive no step increase.
Teachers with 30 or more years of experience do not receive step increases at Archbold.
As part of the new agreement, salary schedules and step schedules were updated.
The other way teachers get pay hikes is through raises in base pay. A base pay increase raises all steps on the salary schedule.
If base pay goes up, a teacher who is in line to receive a step pay hike gets both the step increase and the base pay increase.
A teacher who is not eligible for a step increase still gets the base pay increase.
Teachers can also earn additional money by taking on extra work, such as coaching sports or advising student organizations. These are extra, or “supplemental,” contracts.
For the 2010-11 school year, Archbold Area School District teachers will receive no raise in base pay.
If eligible, they will receive a step increase for years of service and-or advanced education.
For the 2011-12 school year, teacher base pay will go up 1.25%. If a teacher falls into a place on the salary schedule where there is a step increase, the teacher would get the step increase, plus the 1.25% pay hike.
For the 2012-13 school year, teacher base pay will go up 1.5%, plus any applicable step increase.
Another change in the contract is the offering of a highdeductible health plan, with a health savings account for insurance coverage.
The district will continue to make a more traditional health plan available.
In the contract, for the first time, is a progressive staff discipline model.
David Deskins, district superintendent, declined to comment on the staff discipline model, other than to say it brings the language of the master contract into line with current practices.
Other changes include schedules for considering supplemental contracts, and adjustments to staff leave and vacancy policies.
Deskins said, “The outcomes of the negotiating process clearly demonstrate the continued desire for cooperative relationships between the Association, the administration, and the Board of Education.
“The previous contract in place in the district represented a document that has realized minimal change for nearly 30 years.”
The agreement between the two sides was reached after more than 50 hours of deliberations by, and between, the parties.
The Archbold contract is similar to the agreement reached in April between the Pettisville Local School District board and the Pettisville Teacher Association.
The two sides in that negotiation agreed to a one-year freeze in base pay.
Eligible Pettisville teachers will still get their step increases.
The last negotiations between the Archbold school board and the AEA lasted from April 2007 to February 2008, when a three-year salary re-opener was up for discussion. Talks halted during the summer of 2007.
The AEA and the school board appeared before a federal mediator in October 2007, but that effort failed. The negotiations reached an impasse in November 2007.
The negotiations were headed for the State Employment Relations Board fact-finding process before an agreement was finally reached.–David Pugh