Whitehall City School District teachers will receive 2 percent raises in each of the next three years, but also will pay more for health insurance per the terms of a new collective-bargaining agreement.

"Through a problem-solving approach that was not adversarial, we reached an agreement in two days," said district Superintendent Brian Hamler.

Whitehall school board members approved the three-year contract 3-0 at their board meeting May 11. Board members Walter Armes and Joy Bivens were absent.

The Whitehall Education Association previously had given its nod to the contract.

"We are pleased with the district's actions but are not happy about health insurance ... but that's not the district's fault. No one is very happy about health insurance," said Mike Munroe, a teacher at Whitehall-Yearling High School who represented high school teachers and other certified personnel during the contract negotiations.

The new three-year contract between the board and the education association is effective July 1 and extends through June 30, 2020.

The contract covers the district's 222 certified personnel -- teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, nurses and others, said Treasurer Steve McAfee.

The district's 103 classified personnel, including those in food services and transportation, are covered under a separate contract between the district and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees.

That contact expires June 30; the two sides have reached a tentative agreement, McAfee said, but the association has yet to ratify it.

The district's new contract with the Whitehall Education Association provides 2 percent salary increases each of the next three years but also increases employees' share of health-insurance premiums, as well as raises maximum out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles, McAfee said.

"The biggest change was moving from a PPO (preferred-provider organization) to a high-deductible health plan ... costs (to employees) will increase. We are trying to keep up with the times," McAfee said.

McAfee estimated employees under the current contract who opted for single coverage paid about 7 percent of monthly health-insurance premiums. It will increase to about 10 percent under the new contract.

Under a family plan, each employee's share will increase from about 13 percent to 15 percent, McAfee said.

Under the new contract, employees will pay a fixed percentage; with the current contract, employees are paying a fixed amount, McAfee said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

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