Strongsville teachers have accepted a salary freeze and agreed to eliminate step pay increases for the 2011-12 school year under terms of a new two-year contract.
The new deal, ratified by the Strongsville Education Association, also calls for teachers to assume extra duties during the school day and is expected to save the district about $2 million during its second year.
“This agreement is an historic step forward,” Superintendent Jefferey Lampert said in a statement released this morning. “We greatly appreciate the spirit of collaboration and sacrifice by our teachers and their leadership."
The contract is retroactive to Aug. 1, 2010, and will expire June 30, 2012.
Other highlights of the pact:
Pay freeze for supplemental contracts. Teachers who work in supplemental positions, like coaching athletics or overseeing extra-curriculars like choir or band, will also not receive salary hikes or step increases next school year.
Teachers will pay more for health insurance. Starting next school year, teachers will pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums, up to a maximum of $150 a month for family coverage and $75 a month for individuals. Currently, teachers pay $40 a month for family and $20 per month for individual coverage. Administrators will also pay the higher premiums.
Teachers will take on extra duties. Planning time during the school day was reduced so that teachers can take on additional tasks like tutoring, cafeteria duty and assisting in the media center. Elementary teachers, who now have 500 minutes a week for planning, will have 350 minutes a week. In grades 7-12, teachers will have one planning period per day instead of two.
Professional Development days increased. Teachers will participate in two extra days per year of unpaid professional development without the district incurring additional costs.
Flexible scheduling. A new provision allows teachers to elect to work flexible hours to meet the needs of the students and the district. For example, some teachers may report for duty earlier in the day and some may report later in the day, adjusting to needs of students and classes.
Building Assistant Teachers positions suspended for 2011- 2012. Building assistant teachers, licensed teachers who prepare materials for teachers and tend to other instructional duties, will not be used next school year, saving about $230,000 a year.
Voluntary professional growth costs reduced 75 percent. Teachers can now earn a stipend for organizing student activities, professional development and continuing education. In the new contract, the program will be reorganized to reduce costs 75 percent in the future.
Department chairs will teach another class. Each chairman will teach one additional class.
Additional class compensation reduced. Teachers who teach an additional class beyond their normal workload will be paid at the rate of 20 percent of base salary, which is a substantial reduction from the current rate.
State Report Card stipend eliminated. Teachers will no longer receive a $100 stipend for earning an effective rating on the annual Ohio Report Card, saving the district more than $50,000.
Grievances resolved. Pending grievances and other legal matters were resolved by the negotiation process, which reduced legal costs.
“The Board of Education and the administration appreciate the significant savings in this contract as we face a deficit of about $7 million in the next school year," Lampert said. "Since 2009, the district has also managed to attain at least $1.4 million in cost savings through prior employee contracts, including teachers and non-certified staff. We have worked hard to balance the budget with many other cost-saving measures. We believe the Strongsville community will see this new agreement as a positive step toward eliminating the deficit and avoiding state fiscal supervision.”
The district has a 9.9-mill levy on the May 3 primary ballot that officials say is crucial to balancing the district's budget and avoiding significant cuts in programs.