Teachers in the Grandview Heights City School District will receive no salary increase in the first year of their new contract, a provision the union suggested.

Teachers in the Grandview Heights City School District will receive no salary increase in the first year of their new contract, a provision the union suggested.

The school board unanimously approved the three-year agreement on April 14.

The Grandview Heights Education Association voted 55-1 on March 19 to ratify the contract.

Board president Kathy Lithgow said the GHEA brought the salary proposal to the negotiating table.

"We did not propose this, the union proposed it," she said. "I can't tell you how pleased we were to hear that."

After a zero percent increase for the 2009-10 school year, the teachers will receive a 2 percent pay increase in the second year of the contract and a 2.75 percent raise in the third year. The contract will run through the 2011-12 school year.

Teachers have typically received a 3 percent annual pay increase in the most recent contract agreements, Lithgow said.

The union's gesture demonstrates it is "very understanding" of the current economic climate and its impact on the district, she said.

"We are the only district I know of to have their teachers do this without a levy hanging over our heads or following a failed levy," Lithgow said.

Grandview Heights High School math teacher Kevin Richards, who served as lead negotiator for the GHEA, thanked the board and administration for what he called "a very smooth process" in the negotiations.

"We had a nice exchange of ideas and some wonderful conversations" about a variety of issues, he said.

Other provisions of the contract include:

The district will increase the tuition reimbursement it offers teachers from $20,000 to $40,000. In exchange, teachers will receive a lower stipend for serving on the District Development Council (DDC).

The provision allowing teachers to accumulate unused personal leave will be eliminated. Teachers receive three personal days each year. Under the new contract, a teacher who has not used all of his or her personal leave can either apply the days to sick leave or receive a stipend.

The term life insurance policy the district provides each teacher will be increased from $40,000 to $49,000.

The DDC will reevaluate the district's supplemental salary schedule.

An additional step has been added to the teachers' pay schedule.

Teachers who opt to retire after 30 years of teaching will be eligible for a $50,000 bonus.

afroman@thisweeknews.com