The Olentangy school board on June 22 approved a $157.3 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2012 and a freeze on step-pay increases for about 300 non-union classified staff

The Olentangy school board on June 22 approved a $157.3 million general fund budget for fiscal year 2012 and a freeze on step-pay increases for about 300 non-union classified staff.

The step-pay freeze, along with no base-pay increase for central-office support staff, secretaries, aides and other non-union workers, will save the district about $200,000 next fiscal year, officials said.

Superintendent Wade Lucas said before the meeting the district is looking at step pay as a way to cut costs. Two Ohio Association of Public School Employees' union contracts will expire on June 30. Negotiations have not begun yet. The contract with the Olentangy Teachers Association runs out on June 30, 2012.

The 16,000-student district has about 1,100 unionized teachers and certified staff and about 300 unionized classified staff.

Both Lucas and treasurer Becky Jenkins said everything will be on the table when union negotiations are held.

Despite approval in May of a three-year, 7.9-mill levy and combination no-new-millage bond issue, school officials have said they still need to cut at least $9.3 million in about next three years. They said they plan to spare academic programs from cuts.

For more on this story, see the June 39 ThisWeek Olentangy.