South-Western City Schools officials and members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees should start negotiating in late April, according to a union official.

South-Western City Schools officials and members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees should start negotiating in late April, according to a union official.

South-Western officials received a letter dated March 10 from the State Employment Relations Board notifying the district that OAPSE officials would like to set a time and date to begin negotiations.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the school district and OAPSE Local 211 expires June 30. By law, they can begin negotiations 90 days before the expiration of the contract.

Chad Caldwell, an OAPSE field representative, said last week the school district had 10 days to set up a meeting after receiving the letter.

"We're looking at starting at the end of April," Caldwell said.

He said four local OAPSE members will join him at the negotiating table. A 12-member committee will set the parameters for the OAPSE negotiating team. The committee is made up of representatives of each classification of nonteaching jobs in the district, Caldwell said.

"The committee makes all the decisions about what goes on at the table," he said.

The negotiating team, other than him, had not been chosen by last week, Caldwell said.

The committee has been chosen, but they are not "totally prepared" yet, he said.

They will be prepared in time, though, Caldwell said.

South-Western superintendent Bill Wise indicated something similar for the school board and its negotiating team.

"We're in the final phases of preparation," Wise said. "We'll make sure we're fully prepared."