By Andrea Cordle
The South-Western City Schools District Board of Education and the South-Western Education Association (SWEA) have reached a deal.
At the Nov. 18 meeting, the board of education unanimously approved the new contract agreement with its largest employee union group. The education association has approximately 1,400 certificated members, including teachers, guidance counselors, nurses, psychologists and tutors.
The previous contract ended in June. The new agreement will take effect immediately and will expire June 30, 2016.
According to the agreement, employees will receive a 2 percent increase in base salary for each of the three years of the contract. The board recently approved similar agreements with the South-Western Administrator’s Association and the Ohio Association of Public Schools Employees.
“The agreement was reached as a result of the continued collaborative effort between the board and SWEA,” said Hugh Garside, district treasurer. “The agreement allows the district to remain competitive while staying within budget.”
Earlier this month, the board approved the district’s five-year financial forecast.
“We have never been in such good financial shape,” said Garside.
Money from state aid and an increase in real estate tax has helped the district. School officials promised the community they would not ask for operating dollars through 2013.
Garside said the district would keep that promise and extend it.
According to the forecast, the district should not see a deficit until 2016.
The agreement with the South-Western Education Association outlines evaluations based on the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System model, which includes teacher performance and student growth. It also covers the procedure for implementing a reduction in force based on evaluation and seniority.
“The changes in state law have required a substantial shift in the way the district does business,” said Karen Dover, district board member who served on the negotiating team. “We appreciate the way the teachers continue to partner with us on behalf of our students and our community.”