The Westerville City School District now has current contracts with all four of its bargaining units.

The Westerville City School District now has current contracts with all four of its bargaining units.

The board of education approved an agreement with OAPSE Local 719 on Monday, Jan. 24. Local 719 was the last of the four unions to approve a contract with the district.

The union's contract had expired June 30, though employees continued to work under the conditions of the expired contract during negotiations.

Members of the union, which include 107 bus drivers and seven mechanics, will receive a 2.5-percent increase in their base pay for the current school year and a 1.75-percent increase for the next school year. Those raises are in line with what was awarded to the district's other three unions.

The new two-year contract also includes some changes dealing with disciplinary procedures, union president Dale Grossman said previously.

The district began negotiations with the union last spring. A contract was put before union members in November but was voted down.

At that time, Local 719 was asking for a $100 tool allowance for each of its seven mechanics, who use their own tools to do their work, Grossman said. Though that was a serious sticking point for negotiations, the tool allowance ultimately was left out of the final contract.

"This may be the longest negotiations time period," school board member Kevin Hoffman said before the contract was unanimously approved by the board.

Despite disagreements over the terms of the contract, Grossman said union members never threatened to alter their work and continued to do business as usual.

Westerville schools executive director of employee relations Curt Jackowski, who helped lead the administration's negotiations team, said that while the negotiations were drawn out, both sides worked together to bring them to a conclusion.

"It was a real joint effort between the administrative team and the bargaining unit," Jackowski said.

The newly approved contract will be posted on the district's website, www.westerville.k12.oh.us, by the end of this week, Jackowski said.

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