Teachers in the Archbold Area School District will get 6.5% in base-pay hikes over the next three years under a new contract approved by the Arch-bold Area School Board.
Teachers and other certified staff will receive a 2% pay hike in base pay for the 2007-08 school year. The increase will be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2007, meaning teachers will get a lump-sum payment equal to the amount of their raise from Aug. 1, 2007, to the current pay period.
The following year, Aug. 1, 2008 through July 31, 2009, certified staff will get another 2% raise, but they will also see their contribution towards the cost of the medical health in-surance go up 2%.
In the final year of the agreement, Aug. 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010, certified personnel will get a 2.5% base pay hike.
Teachers get two forms of raises: base pay and "step" in-creases. Under a salary sched-ule, teachers receive a pay hike for each additional year of ex-perience, but there are some places on the schedule where there are no step increases.
Base pay raises all teacher pay, regardless of where they are on the salary schedule. A phase used to describe the situation is "a rising tide raises all boats."
The school board ratified the contract during a special meet-ing Tuesday, Feb. 26. David Deskins, district superinten-dent, said the AEA had ratified the contract on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
The board vote was unani-mous; Roel Galvan, board member, was out of town.
The two sides have been in negotiations on wage and in-surance issues since April 2007. There was a halt in talks over the 2007 summer months.
The negotiations were under a wage reopener clause in the master contract, which is set to expire next year.
A federal mediator was called in to assist in the nego-tiations. The board and the AEA sat down with the media-tor on Oct. 29, 2007, but the effort failed.
The board and the AEA ne-gotiating team agreed to an offer featuring 1.5% per year for two years, but the AEA rank and file rejected it on Nov. 1, 2007.
The two sides reached im-passe in November 2007; the decision was announced in a Nov 20 press release from the school board.
The issue was headed for the fact-finding process through the State Employment Relations Board.
The first SERB fact-finding hearing was to be held today, Wednesday, Feb. 27.
On Nov. 19, 2007, the school board approved an agreement with the district’s classified staff. Classified staff are those in non-teaching positions such as custodians, cafeteria work-ers, secretaries, bus drivers, etc.
Under the agreement, the classified staff members re-ceived the 1.5% per pay hike for each of the next two years.
During the Tuesday morn-ing meeting, Deskins said the board’s agreement with the classified staff said if changes were made to the certified staff contract, the classified staff agreement would be revisited.
David Yoder, board member, said the district budget will allow for the wage increases.
Scott Miller, board presi-dent, said in a press release, "The Board of Education will continue to closely monitor the district expenditures, and we believe that this settlement is a good compromise to demon-strate the board’s appreciation for the hard work of an out-standing teaching staff, while keeping a close eye on the fu-ture financial health of the district."
Also in the release, Cheryl Storrer, board member, said, "The board felt it within our ability to move a bit on the base salary issue, when the teachers were willing to in-crease their contribution on the insurance premiums during the second year of the settlement."
Ben Gericke, president of the Archbold Education Asso-ciation, said in a prepared statement, "I am pleased that we were able to come to a reso-lution in this process.
"However, I am not entirely happy with how the process played out. This is an issue that will be addressed over time. The other issues that have been brought about be-cause of this process will also need to be addressed in due time as well.
"We have requested forming some type of labor-management team to assist in working on these issues, and to help get us back to working together."
Gericke said in his state-ment that at this time, "I am not going to air these issues out in public. This sticks with what the AEA has attempted to do all along, not negotiate through the media.
"Right now, I think it is im-portant for all of our teachers to focus on the last half of the school year.
"I have been very impressed with how our teachers have continued to do the excellent jobs we have been accustomed to."
Both sides referenced the district’s seven straight excel-lent rankings on the Ohio De-partment of Education school report card.
Gericke said the excellent rankings "are a tribute to our parents, students, administra-tors, classified staff, and teach-ers working together."
Miller noted the teaching staff "have done an outstand-ing job of working with our students over the years.
"Our community is fortu-nate to have a team of educa-tors who are among the few in the state who have earned seven excellent ratings in a row."