Avon Lake Teachers Agree to Zero Percent Raises
"Teachers stepped up," said Superintendent Bob Scott.
The Avon Lake Education Association voted on June 9 to freeze teacher’s salaries and increase health care costs.
The Board of Education will vote on the changes June 14, at the June meeting.
Jeff Arra, vice president of the teachers’ union, said they agreed to a pay freeze, step freeze and an increased health care premium contribution from 9 to 15 percent over two years. Arra said most of the school board members are on the contract negotiating team, so the agreement is expected to pass.
Avon Lake School Superintendent Bob Scott said the board is very pleased with the negotiations.
“The teachers were open to the bigger picture of next year and into the future,” he said. “They really stepped up.”
Scott said the two-year wage freeze would save the district $315,000. The one-year step increase freeze would save $271,000. Increasing the health care premiums would result in $183,000.
“The current state budget for education really put us into a tailspin,” Scott said. “Lots of planning over the last three to five years went by the wayside with the stroke of a pen.”
Leslie Koelsch, president of teacher's union said, “We had to make up $2 million. We could cut teachers. We could cut programming. Or, we could give back. It’s all about the kids. We don’t want to have to cut back on the programs that the schools provide.
“The district doesn’t have the money. We have to help them get out of the red and into the black."
The five-year forecast shows the district going into the red by the fiscal year 2013, according to projections by District Treasurer Denise Holcomb. With the new numbers from the contract negotiations, the district can stay in the black for 2013.
Recently, the city of Avon Lake's unions, including police and firefighters, agreed to zero percent raises. Earlier in the year council declined raises and also voted a zero percent raise for the next term's mayor.