South-Western City Schools Board of Education members have placed themselves on each of the teams for negotiating collective bargaining agreements with district employees.

South-Western City Schools Board of Education members have placed themselves on each of the teams for negotiating collective bargaining agreements with district employees.

According to a March 22 press release, board member Mindy Garverick will sit on the district's team to negotiate with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 211 (OAPSE), the union representing the district's non-teaching staff.

Board president Randy Reisling will sit on the team to negotiate with the administrators union, the South-Western Administrators Association (SWAA). Board member Karen Dover will negotiate with members of the teachers union, the South-Western Education Association.

Also sitting on the team to negotiate with the teachers union is district treasurer Hugh Garside, deputy superintendent Phil Warner and assistant superintendents Lois Rapp and Gary Smetzer.

Garside, personnel director James Grube and Smetzer will negotiate for the board with OAPSE.

Smetzer and Garside will join Reisling in negotiations with the SWAA.

Randy Bank, an attorney with Columbus law firm Bricker and Eckler, will act as legal counsel on the school board negotiating teams. He said he has worked in public bargaining since his career began in 1984. He also has served on South-Western negotiating teams in the past.

District spokeswoman Sandy Nekoloff released the statement following a school board executive session on March 22.

"We appreciate the sacrifice that our community has made to support our students," Reisling said in the statement. "We also understand the current economic environment. We have worked hard to listen and take the community's ideas into consideration as we prepare for negotiations."

According to records from the school district, a school board member has not served on the district's negotiating team at least since 2003. In recent years, the negotiating teams only included district administrators.

"We have had the opportunity to hear from members of our community " Garverick said in the statement. "We are committed to creating one voice that best meets the long-term needs of our district."

According to the statement, members of the board's negotiating teams have helped devise more than 40 collective bargaining agreements in 12 different school districts.

"We are focused on making sure that the district is as well-positioned as possible to provide a solid education to our students in the years ahead, while continuing to remain fiscally responsible," board member Cathy Johnson said in the statement.

Contracts with all three unions expire June 30. Negotiations can begin 90 days before the expiration, according to state law.

"I fully recognize my responsibility to the community and the students that we serve," Dover said in the statement. "Our job is to listen to what the entire community has shared with us and put it into the context of the business of education."