Bexley News

Bexley City Schools

District OKs contract with non-teaching staff

Although it has approved a three-year deal, district will reopen talks to coincide with teachers' bargaining

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The Bexley City School District and its non-teaching staff agreed on a new three-year contract which will give a pay increase the first year of the contract.

But the two sides agreed to come back to the negotiating table for the final two years of the contract, the same time the district will be renegotiating its pact with teachers.

According to district Treasurer Chris Essman, the two sides met May 14 and came to an agreement after only one bargaining session.

The board unanimously approved the three-year contract, effective July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017, with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 123.

Under the new agreement, the district's non-teaching staff, to include bus drivers, cooks, and custodians, will receive a 1.5-percent increase in base pay for one year. The increase represents the first pay raise for the group in three years, said Essman.

Health benefits remained the same, said Essman, with the two sides agreeing to a few minor language changes.

But for years two and three of the contract, both sides agreed to reopen talks for wages only, meaning the two sides will return to the bargaining table by this time next year in order to renegotiate wages for the final two years of the contract.

Essman said it just made sense to renegotiate the contract at the same time the district comes to a new agreement with its teachers union. That contract runs out on June 30, 2015.

Teachers in Bexley have gone without a pay raise for the past two years under their contract, ratified in special session by the district March 28, 2011.

The four-year contract takes the Bexley Education Association from July 2011 until June 2015 in an extended agreement lengthier than in the past.

Under the teachers' contract, certified employees agreed to skip a raise until last year. On July 1, 2013, teacher base pay rose 1.5 percent, then another 1 percent in July this year.

Superintendent Mike Johnson explained that the district negotiated pay freezes in order to deal with a number of unknowns, saying it gave stability to the school district's budget at the time.

In 2011, local governments and school districts anticipated being hit hard with budget cuts, facing nearly $2 billion less in total payments from the state in 2012 and 2013 under Ohio Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget.

When Local 123 and the district reopen negotiations next year, Essman said both the classified and nonclassified unions will then be in alignment, making it much easier for the district when purchasing group insurance, among other benefits.

School board members unanimously approved the agreement with Local 123 at their regular monthly meeting, June 23, with no discussion.

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