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School board approves contract with teachers

March 20, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

The Austintown Board of Education has approved a contract with the Austintown Education Association effective for three years. The agreement came after close to a year of negotiating and was passed by a 3-2 vote on Tuesday night. Board President Dave Schnurrenberger and board member Harold Porter each abstained from the vote as they have family ties to the teaching staff.

On the wage side of the new contract, teachers could see a maximum raise of 1.95 percent per year. The amount will depend on what kind of funding comes from the state, Superintendent Vince Colaluca said.

"If the state gives us between $500,000 and $1.5 million, the teachers will get a one percent raise," he said.

Anything over the $1.5 million would allow for the 1.95 percent raise in each of the three years. The first year (2012-2013) teachers will get the 1.95 percent increase because the state budget was said to not have any cuts. Colaluca said it will be retroactive to the start of the school year. The AEA and board have been in negotiations since last April, according to Colaluca.

Years two and three (2013-14 and 2014-15) will depend entirely on what the state budget does.

On health insurance, Colaluca said the AEA members pay 10 percent, but there could be a savings coming from the consortium to which the district belongs.

"If the bill comes in for less, we will share that with the teachers," he said.

Some changes in the contract weren't an option. One is the change in teacher evaluations, which will be based 50 percent on their students' performance evaluations. Colaluca said this change is part of the new law on how teachers are evaluated and thus needed to be added to the contract.

Another change in the contract put teachers back in the cafeterias and on the playgrounds.

"We've asked elementary school teachers to share lunch and recess on a rotating basis," Colaluca said. "We are going to have five buildings combining into one. That's a lot of kids and we need to increase the staff for recess and lunch."

That move had some aides who were in the audience concerned. They have the idea that their jobs will be eliminated by having the teachers take over. Colaluca said the combined schools will require the aides and the teachers working together.

Presently, the district has 60 aides, of which roughly 20 handle lunches and recess at the four elementary schools and Frank Ohl. They fall under the Ohio Association of Public School Employees union, and that union is still in negotiations and are scheduled to meet in early April.

Monday's meeting was a welcome relief to teachers as far as the contract was concerned. For others, the meeting was a final time to see Lloyd before it closes. The school was celebrating its 58th year and Principal Thomas Lenton said it has been a beginning and end for him.

"I was a first-grader at Lloyd," he said, "and I will be its last principal."

He was proud of the third-graders, who performed "God Bless America" under the direction of Debbie Fabian before a packed house.

In other business:

A resident was complaining about the school finances and wanted to know why the transportation director got the bid to wash the buses. Colaluca defended the decision saying Colleen Murphy put in the only bid for the job.

Another resident requested holding a final open house at the elementary buildings on a weekend so everyone who had ties to the buildings could take one last walk through. Board President Dave Schnurrenberger said that was already in the works.

Board member Harold Porter addressed the meeting and voiced his opposition to student fees. "We don't have pay to play or pay to participate, but we do have pay to learn," he said. Schnurrenberger replied that the student fees began in 2008 when a levy failed. He said fees are not unconstitutional and there are only two school districts in the county who don't have them at this point.

The board approved a resolution opposing House Bill 59. Dr. Tom Stellers said it would take public tax dollars to fund private schools.

The board accepted resignations from Mark Kollat, Fitch sweeper cleaner; Victoria Rucci, bus driver; Jared Hubicsak, freshmen girls soccer coach; and Harold McCue, Fitch teacher.

Appointments were approved for Wilma Almasi, floating bus driver; Heidi Thomas-Lloyd, paraprofessional; Kathy Statti, Fitch sweeper/cleaner; John Hudson, assistant boys tennis coach; and Nicole Rymer, assistant girls track coach at Fitch. Non-teaching substitute personnel approved included Johnnie Richardson as a substitute bus driver, and to food service the following were approved for hiring: Lorinda Medley, Jami Blick, Julie Hager, Colleen Ruman, Paulette Henry, Linda Kaip, Heather Scott, Lisa Fitzpatrick, Maranyellee Cancel, Jamie Lowry, Nicole Richard, Linda Anderson, and Alicia Sarra. Home instruction tutors approved included Bridget Bowes and Stephanie Camardese.

Self-funded student trips were approved for Falco Tech #3193 Robotics Team to travel to Pittsburgh, on March 14-16 and to Cincinnati on March 21-23 for competitions; and for the senior government students to travel to Washington, D.C., on April 23-24 with 34 parent chaperones that were OK'd in a separate approval.

A low bid of $288,000 was accepted from SafeAir Contractors Inc. of Mentor for a contract for the abatement of Watson and Frank Ohl. Colaluca said that bid came in $100,000 under budget.

The board approved continuing to partner with the Austintown Police Department's DARE Program to sponsor a community "Safety Town" for kindergarteners over the summer. No date has been set at this time.

Contracts were renewed for three years for Fitch Principal Doug McGlynn, Elementary Principal Tom Lenton, Food Service Director Tascin Brooks, grants specialist Barbara Kliner, and EMIS coordinator Paula Lipke.

Approval was given for a pre-kindergarten summer intervention program as part of the Success By Six initiative. United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley will offer financial support in the amount of $4,500 for the four-week program running from July 22 to the week of Aug 15.

 
 

 

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