All Olentangy Local School District employees will return to a regular schedule of salary increases this year after several years of wage freezes.

All Olentangy Local School District employees will return to a regular schedule of salary increases this year after several years of wage freezes.

At its Aug. 9 meeting, the school board approved raises for bus drivers, maintenance workers, administrators and other classified non-union employees.

In May, teachers were awarded raises under a new three-year contract.

Superintendent Wade Lucas said the new schedules for raises are on par with the private sector.

"When you look at the trends in the private sector, we're still below those trends. We're right in line," he said.

Under new three-year contracts approved earlier this month, bus drivers, custodians, mechanics, maintenance workers and groundskeepers will receive a 1 percent base-salary raise this year, and a half-percent raise in each of the next two years.

Base-salary increases are awarded separately from step raises, which hinge on length of employment, but both increase overall annual compensation. Bus drivers and maintenance workers received neither last year.

In other action at the Aug. 9 meeting, the board also approved base-salary increases for 59 administrators. They will receive a 2 percent raise for each of the next three school years.

Administrators haven't seen raises since 2009, and they aren't eligible for step raises.

About 300 non-union classified employees, including central office and districtwide support staff, food service workers and secretaries, also will receive a 1 percent base-salary increase, and a half-percent increase the following two years. Last year, those workers saw a complete wage freeze.

The new three-year contracts approved this year for teachers grant increases to their base pay but withhold step raises for one year.

Teachers will receive a 1 percent base-salary increase next year and a half-percent increase the next two years. Starting in the 2013-14 school year, they will resume receiving 3 percent to 4 percent step raises, but they will not recoup the missed step.

Olentangy teachers haven't received base-salary increases for the past two years, but they did collect step raises during both those years.

Board member Adam White has stood in sole opposition this year to the agreements that included the raises, voting against all of them.

At the Aug. 9 meeting, he said he disagreed with Lucas' contention that the raises are in line with private-sector wages, because teachers work fewer days during the year than other workers and receive pension contributions from the district.

"When you're comparing the private sector to education, everyone has to take into perspective that you're not comparing apples to apples," he said.

But Lucas said private-sector workers are eligible for benefits that educators aren't, such as bonuses awarded for reaching specific goals.

Alongside the new raises, district employees have agreed to compromises.

Under the new contracts Olentangy's teachers, bus drivers and maintenance workers will contribute significantly more to their health insurance costs.

They will pay up to 10 percent more for single coverage or may opt for a plan with a high deductible.

Administrators have said that will lead to big savings for the district, despite the raises.