South-Western City School board members on Wednesday unanimously accepted an offer from the district's teachers union to forego a salary increase for the next year.

South-Western City School board members on Wednesday unanimously accepted an offer from the district's teachers union to forego a salary increase for the next year.

With that action taken during a special board meeting, all employees of the district have agreed to forego raises.

At press time, the district had yet to issue any figure on how much money will be saved by the abandoned raises.

Superintendent Bill Wise and Treasurer Hugh Garside led the trend when they made the offer to defer their salary increases in February.

Shortly afterward, the school board accepted similar offers from the school district's administrators and non-teaching staff unions.

Members of the South-Western Education Association, the district's teachers union, will extend their current contract with the school district until June, 2010.

"I am delighted that our teachers have taken this action," said school board president Cathy Johnson. "They recognize the difficulty that all our residents have had financially."

The school district has placed Issue 15, an 8.3-mill, four-year operating levy, on the May 5 ballot.

Many of the residents who have complained about the levy at public meetings or in letters to the editor have said homeowners cannot afford the extra cost of such a levy -- about $264 a year for each $100,000 of assessed residential valuation -- during the current bad economic conditions. Levy proponents agree with the district's argument that the issue is needed to maintain current programs.

For developments on this story, see the West Side page at www.ThisWeekNews.com.