CW teachers not seeking pay raise

Facing an uncertain financial future, the Canal Winchester Board of Education and the Canal Winchester Education Association agreed to postpone a decision on salary increases until after the November election.

In an official statement, the district said, "Recognizing the difficult financial situation of the Canal Winchester Local School District, the Canal Winchester Education Association and Canal Winchester Board of Education have mutually agreed that the association will accept no increase on the base salary at this time."

Employees also agreed to continue paying health insurance benefit premiums at the same rate as in 2007-08 through November of this year. The board will pick up the cost of fees incurred for required licensure. Negotiations resume in November and the terms and conditions are applicable to all district employees.

According to board member Stan Smith, the district and teacher’s union agreed a year ago to three years of contract language, but due to Canal Winchester’s precarious financial picture, the board could only guarantee wages for one year.

"There have been times in the past that we’ve been able to negotiate wages for three years," said Smith, "But not now. A year ago, we could only project that we would have funds for one year. The bottom line is the teachers agreed, with a fourth levy attempt coming up, to roll over the contract agreement until after the levy. It’s silly to discuss wages and an increase when we need a levy."

Board members passed a resolution of necessity during a June 16 meeting asking the county auditor to certify a levy amount generating almost $4 million in additional revenue. Administrators and the board estimate the levy will be approximately 8.9 mills.

At a special board meeting on June 3, Superintendent Kim Miller-Smith outlined over $5.3 million in cuts made since 2004. However, she said more than $3 million in reductions made over the last three years could not be reinstated because they were school-year specific.

If voters approve the Nov. 4 levy, the superintendent suggested a list of cuts that could be reinstated within a short period of time including: high school busing, a rollback of the pay-to-play fee to $70, field trips, textbook purchases, assistant varsity coaches, $2.1 million in personnel, equipment account increases, and the purchase of three school buses.

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