Hilliard Northwest News

Certified, classified staff members

Union contracts up for negotiation

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For the first time since 2007, Hilliard City Schools officials will negotiate all the terms of a new labor contract with the district's certified and classified employees.

School board members met in a closed session Sept. 10 and were scheduled to meet in a closed session Sept. 18 with the district's legal counsel about collective bargaining.

Meetings with representatives of the two unions -- the Hilliard Education Association and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 310 -- had not been scheduled as of Sept. 17.

The district has about 1,200 certified positions, which include teachers, nurses and guidance counselors, and about 476 classified positions, which include secretaries, bus drivers, aides, custodians and clerks.

The two union contracts began Jan. 1, 2008 and expired Dec. 31, 2010.

One-year contract extensions were agreed upon for both certified and classified personnel and then followed by two-year contract agreements, district spokeswoman Amanda Morris said.

The two-year extension on both contracts expires Dec. 31.

The contract extensions were achieved without the standard negotiating of all the terms of the contracts, Morris said.

"At these times, the district was in dire financial straits. ... (Our staff members) recognized this and shared in the sacrifices that were needed to be made," she said.

Prior to 2008, district employees did not pay health-insurance costs, but per the contract bargained in 2007, employees began to pay 6 percent.

The classified and certified employees' share increased to 8 percent in 2009 and to 10 percent in 2010.

Both sets of employees received a 3-percent increase in base salary each of the three years.

Following the expiration of the original three-year contracts, future agreements included salary freezes, the elimination or postponement of step increases and retirement incentives, Morris said.

The two-year contract agreement expiring Dec. 31 provided no salary increase for certified employees. Contributions to health insurance were 15 percent both years.

The classified employees received a 1-percent base salary increase in the second year of two-year contract, while contributions to health insurance were 12.5 percent in the first year and 15 percent in the second year, Morris said.

"We will certainly be looking at salaries and benefits during these negotiations, but also at the language of a new contract," Morris said.

Future closed meetings are expected as the negotiations progress.

The school board must vote at a public meeting to ratify the new contracts.

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