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Hudson -- The Board of Education approved a 3-year contract with the Hudson Education Association July 29 which includes a slight base salary increase for the 352 union members and a movement toward performance-based pay structure.
The district has been in negotiations since around March with both the HEA and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 212, which is the support staff bargaining unit, according to Superintendent Phil Herman.
A tentative contract agreement with the HEA was reached at the end of June, he said. The new agreement runs from July 1 to June 20, 2017.
Members "overwhelmingly" approved the contracts last month, Herman said.
Both sides agreed to a 2.25 percent base salary increase along with step increases in the first year of the contract with a 2 percent increase in the second year, followed by 1.75 percent increase in the final year.
The union and Board will work toward a new performance-based salary structure for the successor agreement July 1, 2017, Herman said.
Teacher agreement to move toward a new salary structure helped negotiations, Herman said.
"One very important key in reaching this agreement was the teacher's agreement to move from a salary structure that primarily rewards longevity to a salary schedule which primarily rewards performance," Herman said.
"Advancement on the longevity step during the final two years of the agreement will be dependent upon skilled/accomplished teacher performance rating on the teacher's evaluation," according to Herman.
During negotiations, each side took into account the need for districtwide fiscal responsibility and the sacrifices made during a previous agreement which included a three-year comprehensive base pay freeze in 2011, no longevity pay for two years and increased insurance premiums.
"The collective bargaining process yielded a contract that is competitive with respect to market conditions for teachers, and is reflective of the status, expectations and abilities of the Hudson City School District," according to David Spohn, president of HEA and a high school math teacher and department chair. "I am pleased with the outcome. The contract will serve the district well for the next three years."
Both sides also agreed on a wellness program, in order to keep insurance premiums lower, Herman said. The contract states the employee premium percentage will increase from 15 percent to 17 percent in 2016 and to 18 percent in 2017.
However, if a teacher takes part in a mandated wellness program the year prior to an increase, their premiums will not go up, Herman said.
Other changes are added incentives for using generic and mail order prescriptions, a more comprehensive dental plan and pay for additional works, such as curriculum writing.
"This has been a very long and arduous process for all parties involved," Board member Steve DiMauro said at the July 28 meeting. "I know a lot of time and effort and resources have went into this and its important for the public to understand what went into it."
School Board member Gary Mushock called the contract agreement a collaborative effort.
"I really think it speaks to the quality of people we have within our school district, to be able to work through difficult situations in a non-adversarial way and in a collaborative way," Mushock said.
"This contract is the result of over 90 hours of formal and intense bargaining," Spohn said. "Bargaining was successful because of the amount of time, attention and preparation that both the BOE and HEA teams put into the process."
Requests for the full contact can be made by calling the treasurer's office at 330-653-1270.
commonsense1 is right on. Since 2012, we have seen annual excesses in cash that have given us a significant cash surplus of over $17 million in 2014. The BOE has decided to use this surplus to fund the wage & benefit increases in the new three-year union contracts. If there are no future increases in revenue, this will undoubtedly lead to annual deficits going forward and eventually deplete this surplus. When the time comes for a new contract and/or the surplus is depleted, we will be faced with current annual spending that exceeds the available annual revenue. At this time we will have only two options: 1) raise the taxes to fund the annual deficit and/or any new wage & benefit increases; or 2) cut all expenses to match the available revenue. You can be sure that the BOE will not clearly disclose this in their public spin. When will the Hub-Times do some investigative journalism and reporting to help the community better understand these issues? Remember - it's for the kids!
The Hub-Times could do a great service to their readers by publishing a comparison that details the pay levels resulting from this new contract against other Summit County school districts that are rated "Excellent" or "Excellent with Distinction "by the state. The taxpayers would be shocked to see how incredibly well Hudson's teachers are paid in comparison to their counterparts in neighboring communities. This is a great contract for the teachers union and their friends on the school board (who then teachers union PAC helped to elect). But taxpayers -- get ready for a new levy in a year or two. Remember; it's for our kids.