By Sue Botos
During an early morning special meeting on April 3, the school board approved an agreement with nonteaching employees of Chapter 381 of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE). The contract will be effective July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017. The move came after a final closed-door session to discuss the document prior to the special session.
Similar to the three-year teacher contract approved on March 13, the agreement calls for a 1.75-percent yearly increase on the salary base. For example, according to a draft of the contract provided by the board, an entry-level receptionist will make $14.05 per hour during the 2014-2015 school year. That beginning figure will rise to $14.55 by the 2016-2017 term.
Salary steps, based on education and years of service, will remain the same, representing an approximate 4-percent increase between each.
Just as teachers will be paying more for health coverage, so will other staff. Although the jump will not be dramatic as in the 2011 contract, which increased premiums from 3 to 11 percent, full-time employees will pay 13 percent during the next school year, 14 percent in 2015-2016, and 15 percent in 2016-2017. Part-time employees will be offered coverage based upon hours worked per school session.
The agreement also offers a choice two dental plans, one covering 80 percent of services, and the other covering 60 percent of the premium.
In keeping with the current contract, spouses of employees eligible for health care from their own place of employment will not be eligible for the district insurance.
In a prepared statement, OAPSE Local 381 President Joan Zeager stated, “I am pleased to report that our union was able to reach a mutually agreeable settlement with the Rocky River Board of Education. We feel the new contract is fair to our members and will benefit the high standards of education provided for the children of the Rocky River Education team.”
School board President Jay Milano commented in the statement, “In all negotiations, our goal is to be consistent and protect the integrity of the district and the taxpayers’ money, both in long and short term. This contract recognizes the contribution of our classified staff members who work to maintain our buildings, transport our students, provide nutritious meals and ensure that our schools and offices run smoothly.”
Similar to the contract settled last week with nonteaching employees, the three-year-pact with the Rocky River Teachers Association, approved on March 13, reflects a 1.75-percent increase in teacher salaries through the 2016-2017 school term. In monetary terms, this means a new teacher with a bachelor’s degree will make $40,321 during the upcoming year, $41,026 in 2015-2016 and $41,744 the following year. Compensation rises with education and experience, as an instructor with 19 years in the classroom and a bachelor’s degree will make $86,959 in 2014-2015, $88,481 the following year, and $90,029 the last year of the recently approved pact.
On the high end of the spectrum, a teacher with 19 years of experience, a master’s degree, and 18 post-master’s credit hours will be making $100,741 by 2016-2017. An instructor with a Ph.D. and 19 years of service stands to make $103,308 by the final year of the agreement.
The agreement also states that teachers represented by the RRTA are prohibited from striking or “any other concerted effort which interferes with, impedes or impairs the normal operation of the schools.”
In the area of health insurance, the contract states that the district will pay 87 percent of an employee’s single or family health care premium next year, 86 percent the following year and 85 percent during the 2016-2017 school term. Employees who choose coverage receive a $10 deductible for generic drugs and a $20 deductible for other prescriptions.
Under dental coverage, 80 percent of the premium is covered for singles and families.
If teacher spouses are eligible for health care coverage through their own employer, they cannot participate in the district plan.