Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools Superintendent Francis Scruci and teachers union spokesperson Jenny Palguta summarized a three-year labor contract as a fair deal during the Oct. 10 school board meeting.
The new contract, which the board approved unanimously, provides a 1.5-percent increase in base salary this year, a 1-percent increase next year and no increase on the base salary for the third year. It's effective retroactive to July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016.
The last contract for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 included salary and step freezes, two furlough days and insurance co-payment increases.
This contract returns step increases, according to information from district treasurer Julio Valladares' department.
"We're relieved the negotiations seem to be over," Palguta said prior to last week's board vote. "We spent 48 hours at the table alone. We're very pleased with the outcome. We feel it's fair and equitable for the community, board and teachers."
Palguta introduced the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association team who negotiated the contract: Ed Thomas, financial chairman; Ryan Beck, high school teacher; Tim Skamfer, a fifth-grade teacher; Paige Harding, middle school representative; and Dwayne Marshall, negotiations chairman.
The teachers voted 305-5 to ratify the contract.
Palguta said the contract incorporates new teacher evaluations required this year under state law.
"It's not only a lot of work for administrators but all of us," she said. "It's a big chunk of our new contract, and we made it a positive part of (the agreement.)"
Because the district earned an A on the indicators met on the 2012-13 school year, the teachers who worked last year are receiving $400 this month. If they reach that same goal during the next two years, teachers would receive a $200 stipend each year.
Scruci said the contract was done in good faith.
"It was a long process, and we're happy it's over," he said. "Our teachers and our staff have shown fiscal responsibility over the past three years with furlough days, step and salary freezes. We can't thank them enough for doing their part. Collectively, we worked very hard to recognize the hard work they've done in the classroom."
Scruci said he thinks the new contract is a fair deal.
"I believe we did bring a contract forward that recognizes the work you do in the classrooms every day," he said. "We look forward to more great things to come."