AUSTINTOWN - After the Austintown Education Association ratified a tentative contract agreement on Monday, the Board of Education gave its nod of approval on Tuesday.
The agreement includes a 1.95 percent raise and a little extra work outside the classroom, according to Austintown Superintendent Vince Colaluca. He said that extra work will include elementary teachers working to cover lunch duty along with the noncertified staff, according to Tribune Chronicle news partner WYTV 33 News.
Colaluca said the district is closing five elementary schools and putting students into two new buildings, so there will be a larger number of students to watch over. The district does expect to lose employees because of the closings.
Colaluca previously said the district was able to offer raises to teachers after reviewing the new state budget and seeing there were no further cuts like there had been in the previous two years.
Board President David Schnurrenberger said Tuesday that the board voted 3-0 in favor of the contract.
Schnurrenberger and Harold Porter both abstained from the vote since their spouses are teachers in the district. They also did not take part in negotiations. Giving their approval were board members Kathy Mock, David Ritchie and Tom Stellers.
The agreement is for three years, retroactive to July 1, 2012, and ends June 30, 2015. Negotiations have been ongoing for nearly a year. The union represents about 313 employees.
''Our staff has done a great job in obtaining an Excellent with Distinction from the state,'' Schnurrenberger said. ''Both sides were aware of the economic issues and were able to reach common ground.''
Austintown Education Association Union President Barbara Tomic said Monday that an ''overwhelming majority'' of the union members approved the tentative agreement.
She had said the contract language on salaries was the one issue that was clarified to the union's satisfaction and was among the main issues.
''The union was very pleased with the offer. We were able to resolve some contract language regarding salaries,'' Tomic said.
A tentative agreement was reached three weeks ago, but teachers turned it down until the contract language was resolved. Teachers had issued a 10-day strike notice on Feb. 20.
Teachers had been working under an expired contract since Aug. 29. Base pay for starting teachers had been one of the main stumbling blocks. Austintown Superintendent Vince
Some other stumbling blocks had been textbooks, extracurricular activities for students, class size and open enrollment.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Association of Public School employees still is in negotiations and have filed an unfair labor practice against the school district.
Ron Blatt, a field representative with the OAPSE, said he and the noncertified members he represents have been monitoring the cafeteria for more than 20 years, and he is worried those duties will be taken away under the new teachers contract.
"They've agreed to let the teachers have 40 days of monitoring per teacher a year," Blatt told 33 News. "If you give 300 teachers 40 days of monitoring in the cafeteria and the playground, there's no room for our people to be. We also believe this agreement could cause us to lose other duties."
Blatt said OAPSE could possibly lose 30 to 40 members, but Colaluca said the district never planned to pull the non-certified staff from those jobs.
"We're working with the elementary teachers to also cover lunch duty along with our certified staff," said Colaluca told 33 News.