The Reynoldsburg Board of Education unanimously approved an agreement March 20 with the district's support-staff union.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education unanimously approved an agreement March 20 with the district's support-staff union.

The agreement extends the current contract with the Reynoldsburg Support Service Association to June and includes a three-year deal that will expire in 2015.

The new pact with the support staff lowers the salary schedule for new employees by 25 percent, allows the district to hire contractors for some operations, raises employee contributions for health insurance and paves the way for a performance pay plan.

Under the contract extension, all 120 support-staff members will earn one-time $1,000 bonuses. These employees have had a salary freeze - of both cost-of living and step increases - for the past two school years.

They will receive a 2-percent pay increase for the 2012-13 school year, a 1-percent raise in 2013-14, and no wage increase in 2014-15. There will be no step increases during the three years of the contract.

Last November, the board unanimously approved a three-year contract with the Reynoldsburg Education Association, the teachers union. It will expire in 2014.

Superintendent Steve Dackin said the two contracts lower the district's expenditures significantly compared to previous agreements.

He said the district can project a positive cash balance in fiscal year 2015, to the tune of $3.2 million, a full year longer than originally projected.

"People rose to the occasion and passed the May 2010 operating levy," he said. "What has happened since then, to no fault of anybody, we had a property reappraisal where the district now loses $1 million in revenue and the state reduced us by $2.7 million for this biennium budget.

"Those are major revenue pieces that were intact when we passed the levy that since then have been reduced out of our general fund, but these contracts reduced the overall cost to the district, that's the point," he added. "That's a good thing. That's a recognition of our employees that they understand the challenges facing our community and they helped to help us balance our budget."

Kathy Enyart is president of the Reynoldsburg Support Service Association, made up of secretaries, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance workers, cooks and others.

Enyart said the union has 120 members who have all been working without a contract since June.

She said 79 union members voted on the contract offer on March 12; two-thirds were in favor of the agreement.

The new agreement is fair and reflects an effort once again to help the district's bottom line, she said.

"We've been trying to do that for years," Enyart said. "We've been freezing our salaries, and they (the union members) definitely needed money this year.

"There was no doubt that some people have gone four years without a raise, and you know what has happened to the economy in the past four years, so people were beginning to hurt," she added. "So they (the school board) agreed, go on give us the raise if we can provide a way for them to cut costs in other ways."