By Janie Southard
MINSTER -- Minster teachers' new contract provides no pay increases for the next two years.
The board of education ratified the two-year, no increase contract with the Minster Teachers Association at a special board meeting Wednesday night.
In a prepared statement, board President Ted Beckman said the board and teachers agreed on the contract "after just five hours of negotiating, without lawyers or Ohio Education Association representation."
"The teachers are really doing their part to help our financial situation. They have really stepped up," said board member Dale Sherman.
The new contract, which also permits job sharing, does provide additional incentives for teachers to retire prior to 35 years of service and allows three more days of unused medical leave to be paid as severance upon retirement. Current details of the retirement incentives were not available by press time.
The current teaching staff of 65 includes 11 employees with more than 30 years service.
The teachers' current three-year contract expires June 30 and included raises of more than 3 percent each of those years: 3.3 percent for the 2003-2004 school year, 3.5, for 2004-2005; and 3.65 this school year.
The new contract becomes effective July 1 and expires on June 30, 2008.
The zero raise comes just weeks after the board approved a list of personnel cuts, which will result in a savings of $551,773 during the next two years. Those cuts included teachers and the elimination of the high school principal position.
Superintendent Gayl Ray said at Wednesday's special meeting the staff being cut are not being fired from their jobs.
"They are fine and qualified teachers. They are simply being laid off due to financial considerations," Ray said.
The school's current five-year financial forecast predicts a deficit balance of $79,000 during school year 2008-2009 and negative $340,066 in 2010.
During the February meeting, board members indicated it's likely voters will see a new levy on a ballot this year, at either an August special election or the November general election.