By Janie Southard
Keeping an excellent, long-term staff requires an investment, CEA and OAPSE officers informed Celina board members at Monday's board of education meeting.
Celina Education Association (CEA) President Phil Long and Vice President Kathy Hart, along with Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Local 457 President Carol Henderson and Vice President Rich Nuding, read from prepared statements regarding the on-going contract negotiations.
"Continued budget problems balanced on the backs of our staff will tremendously affect the quality of Celina school employees," read one union official.
"We are holding our board of education responsible for the financial condition of our district -- holding them to the same standards of excellence to which we hold ourselves as educators and support staff.
"We believe the Celina board of education must be held responsible and accountable for providing fair and equitable contracts for all Celina school employees," they continued. About 100 teachers, wearing black shirts, and OAPSE staff, wearing white and green shirts, attended the board meeting where Superintendent Fred Wiswell thanked both groups for "enduring through the negotiation process" and expressed "understanding and empathy" for their endeavors.
Board President Mary Lehman said the board shares the staff's belief for fair and equitable contracts.
"We must first be accountable for maximum use of our resources," Lehman said.
Both bargaining groups have positioned themselves to strike should negotiations break down. The teachers have been working without a contract since Sept. 1 and OAPSE members since July 1.
District Treasurer Mike Marbaugh predicts a $426,713 deficit by fiscal year 2006 and, even assuming present levies are renewed or replaced, an $11 million deficit by fiscal year 2009.
The predictions come in a five-year forecast, which the treasurer calls a best-guess planning tool, to be submitted to the state before Oct. 30 in order to comply with state law.
District Business Manager Mike McKirnan said the installation of the boilers in the administration building has been completed for a total of $52,000 with "a lot of the work done by school employees."
The board approved an overnight trip for the high school baseball team to Cincinnati in March. All expenses will be paid from the Celina baseball program. No monies will be expended from the general fund.