The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport teachers agree to contract extension


The Groveport Board of Education and the Groveport Madison Local Education Association, the union representing district teachers, have agreed to extend the current contract for two years.

The school board voted unanimously Sept. 12 to approve a memorandum of understanding with the union in regard to the contract, which will continue through June 30, 2015.

Superintendent Bruce Hoover said negotiations between the two sides were solely to discuss financial issues which resulted in a zero increase to teachers' pay in 2014 and one step increase in 2015.

"Insurance benefits will remain neutral and any language that needs re-evaluated over the next two years can be, but once the contract expires, this MOU will also be null and void and so in 2015, we'll renegotiate," Hoover said.

Treasurer Anthony Swartz said the current memorandum of understanding has been accounted for in the district's five-year financial forecast, but beyond 2015, he was not able to predict what a newly negotiated contract would look like.

"At this point in time, there is no money included in there for step increases beyond 2015, so anything we do going forward will have to change, depending on what you negotiate," Swartz said.

"You'll have to determine how likely that will be."


Drug tests suspended

The board also voted 3-2, with members Bryan Shoemaker and Charlotte Barker dissenting, to suspend the district's random drug-testing program for students who drive to and from school.

Hoover said because the district eliminated transportation services for high school students this year, attorneys at Bricker & Eckler, the law firm that represents the district, "advised that because it is no longer perceived as an option to drive, we're asking that the board suspend this for the rest of the school year."

Shoemaker objected.

"I think students should take a drug test," he said. "No one is making them drive and no one should be taking drugs."

Barker said she, too, disagreed with the recommendation.

"It's more sensible to have more drug tests because there will be more of a problem," she said. "With more kids driving, you need to take more care."


OSFC funding

The board agreed, with Shoemaker casting the only "no" vote, to approve a resolution that would allow the district to reapply to the Ohio School Facilities Commission for potential project funding through the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program for any qualifying facility projects it undertakes during the coming year.

"Approval of the resolution allows us to apply to the OSFC active planning process, which puts us in the queue for funding," Hoover said. "We do this to make sure we remain eligible for facility planning and project work."

He said the district doesn't currently have a project for which it wants to request specific funding, but if that changes, it will be eligible to make a request.

"The OSFC calculates the percent of support needed and the local share, were we to enter into a bond, to figure out placement in the queue. At this point, they're working up the numbers and I believe it'll be better for us than in the past," Hoover said.