Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Teachers willing to forgo base salary raise
By Shelley Grieshop
St. Henry Local Schools teachers union this week offered to take a 0 percent increase in base salary in exchange for a one-year contract extension.
School board members promptly and unanimously approved the offer at Monday's regularly scheduled meeting.
The teacher's contract was set to expire June 30. The last contract was approved in June 2008 and gave teachers an annual 2.8 percent base wage increase.
Teachers will continue to receive "step" salary increases included in their contracts. The steps automatically give teachers pay increases in certain years based on higher education status and years of employment with the district.
Joan Albers, president of the St. Henry Education Association (SHEA) told The Daily Standard the negotiations committee had been discussing the offer for a 0 percent base wage increase since the fall because they felt the time wasn't right to negotiate for raises or benefits.
SHEA members were surveyed before Christmas and a majority backed the idea, Albers said. At a SHEA meeting Jan. 20, teachers overwhelmingly voted to take the 0 percent base wage increase and "do no other bargaining" at this time, she explained.
Board President Bruce Miller said he and other board members were "most appreciative" of the teaching staff for being "cognizant and insightful of the stress our local and state economy is realizing at this time."
Superintendent Rod Moorman also expressed his appreciation.
"I thought the teachers did an excellent job. It's not a good time to negotiate (raises) when the economy is bad, people are laid off," he said.
Moorman said the SHEA had initiated the meeting with board members to discuss their intent. He said he was "totally surprised" that no negotiations would be necessary this year, but not surprised at the teachers' actions, which he praised.
At Monday's meeting Albers submitted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to the board that outlined their offer. The MOU, which was drafted by a labor relations consultant with the Ohio Education Association on behalf of the teachers, was immediately approved by the board.