Austintown teachers reach tentative deal with board

AUSTINTOWN – A tentative deal was reached late Monday between a teachers union and the Austintown school administration.

News of the deal was made known about 11:30 p.m. and followed a negotiation session between the Austintown Education Association, the district and a federal mediator that began about 3 p.m.

The union represents 315 teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, librarians and speech therapists. It has been working under an expired contract since August.

While many details of the deal were not known as of press time, union officials had said some of the key sticking points were class size and student resources.

Members authorized a 10-day intent to strike notice last week, but before Monday’s session, union president Barbara Tomic said she hoped it would not come to that.

“I’m feeling very positive. I think that we’ll come to a fair settlement,” Tomic said. “We’re hoping that we can get a tentative agreement done.”

Tomic said she has been involved in negotiations before, but nothing in her experience has lasted this long with no resolution. A message was left with Tomic late Monday.

Over the weekend, teachers went door-to-door passing out fliers to inform residents what they are fighting for, including fair wages. The flier states that of all Mahoning County school districts, Austintown is the second-lowest paid district for starting salary and is the third-lowest for teachers at the top of the pay scale with a master’s degree.

Earlier in the day, a crowd gathered at the Austintown Board of Education Office to show their support for the union.

Tribune Chronicle newspartner WYTV 33 contributed to this report.