Board, WEA ratify three-year contract

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The Westerville City School District (WCSD) Board of Education today approved a successor contract with the Westerville Education Association (WEA) that begins retroactive to September 1, 2015, and remains in effect through the 2017-18 school year.

The three-year agreement includes base salary increases of 2 percent each year, a $900 annual one-time payment not included on base salaries, and the addition of one step on the supplemental contract salary schedule. All other salary schedule step increases for experience and additional education remain the same, as does the benefits package available to WEA members.

WCSD Treasurer Bart Griffith said the total cost of the contract over three years is projected to be approximately $20 million, the majority of which was accounted for in WCSD’s latest Five-Year Financial Forecast. As a result, Griffith anticipates that the financial forecast update to be presented in October will continue to reflect a positive cash balance through at least Fiscal Year 2019, which is four years longer than originally projected when voters passed an emergency operating levy in May 2012.

Other operational issues addressed in the successor contract include evaluation processes for WEA members who may or may not be impacted by the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System; procedural matters such as calamity days, personal leave and Individualized Education Plan development; and guidelines for academic matters such as use of digital curriculum, federally-mandated preschool, and All-Day Kindergarten.

The newly-approved contract replaces an expired three-year contract that included salary concessions made by WEA to help the district address financial challenges it was experiencing at the time. Concessions included increases to employee insurance costs and a two-year salary freeze in which teachers received neither a base salary increase nor a step increase. WEA also had given back $1.4 million of contractually-obligated salary in 2011 at a time when all employee groups were making salary and benefit concessions to help the district address budget shortfalls during a challenging economy.

 “We believe this is a very fair and equitable contract that addresses several critical issues brought to the table by both the Westerville Education Association and Board of Education,” said Board President Tracy Davidson. “We’re extremely pleased that both parties were able to come to an agreement that not only recognizes the valuable role our teachers play in educating the students of Westerville City Schools, but allows the district to remain on a positive financial trajectory while maintaining its financial promises to the community.”