By Gary Budzak
A one-year contract extension with the Olentangy Teachers Association (OTA) has been approved by the Olentangy Local School District Board of Education.
The collective bargaining agreement extends the three-year contract signed in 2012 from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016. “Employees shall receive a 2-percent base wage increase for the term of the new agreement,” states the agreement.
“Without a doubt, this partnership works extremely well,” Superintendent Wade Lucas said of the OTA in his report to the board prior to its unanimous vote July 10. “At the end of the day, we’re going to do what’s best for the school district.”
In a statement, OTA President Elaine Eddy said, “This agreement is a reflection of our partnership and the work that has resulted in Olentangy consistently being ranked among the best school districts in the state.”
The OTA represents about 1,150 teachers in the district.
Board Vice President Julie Wagner Feasel said teachers received no pay increase in the 2011-12 school year; a 1 percent increase in 2012-13; and a 0.5 percent increase in 2013-14. If one includes the 2 percent increase in 2015-16, it averages out to a 0.8 percent increase over five years.
Lucas said 2 percent is “in line with what our neighboring and competitive districts are settling for.”
The 2012 contract has helped the district save more than $13 million in insurance and benefits, Lucas said. The contract is said to have helped funds from the 2011 levy last longer than the district’s projected three years.
In addition, Lucas said in the district’s five-year financial forecast, “We have a positive fund balance through 2017,” which he said was healthy.
“Achievement is up and cost per pupil is down, among the lowest in central Ohio,” Lucas said. “If we were in the private sector, that’s a winning formula.”
“This agreement reflects our efforts to be cost-efficient while also recognizing the excellent work being done by our teachers,” Board President Kevin O’Brien said in a statement. “It is a fair and equitable agreement.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.