June 28, 2016

Mostly clear

Teachers give back $1M

MEDINA — The Medina City Teachers Association will make about $1 million in concessions as part of an agreement reached Wednesday with the school board.

The move means as many as 15 of the 93 laid-off personnel could be reinstated, board President Mark Dolan said.

The MCTA membership voted for concessions totaling nearly $1 million “to help our district through these hard financial times,” union president Jo Ann Shire said in a statement. The MCTA agreed to a 1 percent decrease in base salary raise for the 2010-11 school year and to contribute dollars equivalent to 15 percent of the monthly health insurance premium, she said. As a result, the family plan for teachers will increase from $80 per month this year to $215per month next year.

The board voted to approve the agreement Wednesday morning, Dolan said. Within the next few days, he said the board will decide how many positions it will bring back for the 2010-11 school year, and noted all the money saved through the union’s concessions will go toward saving certified positions.

The number of positions reinstated will depend on seniority and pay grade of those brought back, Dolan said.

“Our parents, students and community members expect an excellent school district. I very much appreciate the generosity and understanding that the teachers have shown,” Superintendent Randy Stepp said in a statement. “Times have been tough for everyone in our community and our teachers recognize that. Teachers are good-hearted people who care about our community and the community’s children. We are all in this together and I truly appreciate the gesture and good-faith effort being made by our teachers.”

In May, the school board laid off 93.5 certified positions, which included teachers and guidance counselors, and about 30 support staff. The cuts were made in the wake of voters defeating an 11.7-mill incremental levy in November and the district projecting a $9.5 million deficit next school year. The levy would have generated $13.8 million a year once fully phased in over three years.

In January, the school board sought $2.5 million in concessions from the union. On May 25, initial concession discussions between the district and union failed.

Although the $1 million falls short of the January request, Dolan said: “Keep in mind it was a request … they did not have a reason to negotiate. … They could have chosen to do nothing or to do something, and thankfully they chose something.”
The MCTA’s three-year contract expires in December.

“The Medina City School District is composed of a partnership between the community and our staff. It is important that we continue to work together to address the district’s financial situation,” Dolan said in a statement.

During a series of community input meetings hosted by the school district, residents who have voted down past levies indicated if the teachers union made concessions, they would be more likely to vote for a levy.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.