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Fostoria BOE OKs union contract

Fostoria school board approved a two-year contract Monday with the employee union which represents bus drivers, maintenance and cafeteria workers. The contract provides no wage increase on the base pay, but employees will be eligible for “step” increases based on years of service.
The agreement with American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 1945 is effective July 1 through June 30, 2016. The contract was approved 3-0 by board members Dr. Thomas Guernsey, Joe Sheak and Anthony Thompson. Board members Sharon Stannard and Patrick Grine were absent.
In May, district teachers, represented by the Fostoria Education Association, approved a similar contract.
The action was necessary, Elchert has said, because expenditures have to be reduced to stabilize district finances. Salaries and benefits are the district’s largest expense and the district has not replaced personnel who have left due to resignation or retirement.
“We are very appreciative that our unions have both agreed to two year contracts with zero percentage increases on the base (pay),” Elchert said in an email after the meeting.
During the 2012-2013 year, the district spent about $9.9 million on salaries and wages, according to the district’s five-year forecast. The figure dropped to about $9.5 million this school year and is expected to be about $9.3 million during 2014-2015 school year.
In addition, about $4.5 million is earmarked for insurance and retirement benefits in 2012-2013 and the figure declines to about $4.3 million by 2015. Total expenditures were about $21.2 million in 2013 and will decline to about $20.1 million by 2015. Revenue is expected to increase from about $19.1 million in 2013 to $20.8 million in 2015. The district’s cash balance is expected to increase from about $1.34 million in 2013 to about $1.45 million in 2015.
Changes in the state’s teachers and public employees retirement systems are causing eligible personnel to retire and secure benefits at a higher percentage of pay. The minimum retirement age to receive full benefits will increase to 60 years old with at least 30 years of service, effective July 1, 2015, the start of fiscal year 2016. The retirement age has been 55 years old with 30 years of service.
In personnel issues, the board hired Derek Kidwell as intervention specialist at the junior/senior high school, effective Aug. 1. He was previously hired as head football coach.
While the board also approved a reduction-in-force to suspend the contract of Justin Millisor, junior/senior high school social studies teacher. The action, based on seniority, was taken because of the district’s finances and because of declining enrollment, according to the board’s agenda.

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