June 27, 2016

Partly sunny

Cloverleaf Schools support staff OKs salary freeze

WESTFIELD TWP. — Cloverleaf Schools support staff has agreed to a three-year freeze on base salaries.

Superintendent Daryl Kubilus said the employees recognize that the district is in financial straits.

“We’re grateful to be able to certify this contract in a difficult fiscal time,” Kubilus said.

The state commission that oversees the district’s finances approved a three-year contract between the district and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 371 on Thursday. The contract is retroactive to July 1, 2012, and runs through June 30, 2015.

The union represents the district’s classified employees, including paraprofessional aides, bus drivers, food service personnel, operations personnel, secretaries and mechanics.

“They have had multiple zero-percent base salary increases over the last several years,” Kubilus said.

Cloverleaf is in fiscal emergency, meaning a five-member state commission oversees its financial decisions. It can borrow money from the state but the money must be paid back.

The contract preserves “step” increases for time in service and the previous contract’s sliding scale for health care contributions, Kubilus said. For the past four years, the union had agreed to one-year contracts, he said.

Employees who earn more than $34,892 a year pay a 15 percent toward their health care premiums, and those who earn less than that and were hired after Jan. 1, 2012, pay 12 percent. Those hired before Jan. 1, 2012, who earn less than $34,892 a year pay 10 percent.

Paul Marshall, chairman of the commission, congratulated Kubilus on the contract, saying it showed the staff had a good working relationship with the administration.

“If your employees are willing to do what they’ve done, that’s a testament to their trust,” he said.

The Cloverleaf Education Association approved a three-year contract in October that also included no increase in base salary.

The district has two tax levies on the Aug. 6 special election ballot:

• An 8.3-mill levy would bring in $3.7 million a year for 10 years and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $261.45 a year, according to the Medina County Auditor’s Office.

• Renewal of a 6.3-mill, five-year levy would bring in $2.8 million a year. The owner of a $100,000 home now pays about $189 a year for the levy, but because of declining property values that would increase to about $198.45 a year if the levy is approved.

The Cloverleaf school board approved placing the same two issues on the ballot in November because the filing deadline is Aug. 7, a day after the special election.

Kubilus said he hopes the two levies pass in August and the November issues will not be needed.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.