Three of Westerville City Schools' four employee unions have approved contract concessions, agreeing to pay freezes and health-insurance cuts.

Three of Westerville City Schools' four employee unions have approved contract concessions, agreeing to pay freezes and health-insurance cuts.

The 110 members of OAPSE Local 719, which represents the district's bus drivers and mechanics, voted to approve a two-year wage freeze Feb. 15. The freeze includes increases in both the step increases that are built into contracts and the negotiated cost-of-living increases.

Under the agreement, employees also will pay an additional $1,200 toward their health-savings-account deductibles for family coverage.

The change in the deductible will go into effect in two years, when the contract expires.

The concessions will save the district about $200,000 over the two-year life of the contract, the union said.

"This action by the members of Local 719 shows that they understand the seriousness of the budget deficit and are absolutely willing to do their part to help," said OAPSE field representative Chad Caldwell, who helped lead negotiations with the district. "This vote by Local 719 members speaks to the commitment they have to the district and the students they serve every day."

The contract was due to expire this summer, but the agreement means it will continue for another two years.

The deal was approved by the Westerville Board of Education during a special meeting on Tuesday morning, Feb. 21.

OAPSE Local 719 is the third of the district's unions to agree to concessions. OAPSE Local 138, which represents custodians, food-service workers and maintenance employees, and the Westerville Educational Support Staff Association voted to approve the concessions earlier this month.

The Westerville Board of Education asked unions to reopen negotiations in December after a levy was voted down in November, leaving the district with a $23-million deficit for the 2012-2013 school year.

The Westerville Education Association, which represents the district's teachers and is the district's largest union, is the only union that has not yet approved contract concessions.

The district has not had any official communications from the teachers union about concessions, Superintendent Dan Good said.