The Olentangy Board of Education unanimously approved a one-year contract extension for the district’s teachers at its meeting on Thursday.
The collective bargaining agreement extends the Olentangy Teachers Association’s (OTA) contract from June 30, 2016, through June 30, 2017, with a 2.25 percent salary increase and a base rate of $39,434. The district said the increase comes after four years of salary increases that averaged 1 percent and included a one-year salary freeze.
“This agreement is a reflection of those partnerships and the effort that has resulted in Olentangy consistently being ranked among the best school districts in the state,” said OTA President Elaine Eddy, in a statement issued by the district following the board meeting. The OTA represents 1,264 teachers in the district.
Board President Dave King said the salary increase will help in “attracting and retaining the best of the best teachers.” Board member Julie Wagner Feasel said the increase is below the average of similar districts.
The district said this is the second extension of a three-year contract originally approved in 2012. The 2012 agreement and the 2015 extension have allowed the district to save more than $15 million over the past four years, it said.
“A large part of the district’s recent cost-saving measures has come from our teachers,” King said. “Primarily because of their past concessions, the district has exceeded its 2011 goal of staying off the ballot for three years, despite continued enrollment growth.”
The OTA was praised for agreeing prior to the district going on the ballot in the March primary.
“An extension of the current contract is in the best interest of the district because it extends a fair agreement for a short period in anticipation of a critical ballot issue on March 15, 2016,” said Superintendent Mark Raiff.
The district said the 6.9-mill operating issue is expected to cost an additional $241.50 a year per $100,000 of home valuation. The levy has three components: a 5.9-mill operating levy to pay for teachers, utilities and classroom supplies for at least three years; a 1-mill permanent improvement levy to pay for school facility repairs and maintenance; and a bond issue that would fund the construction of the district’s fourth high school ($69.6 million), purchase the currently leased Olentangy Academy building ($2.2 million) and roofing and bus purchases ($7.8 million).
A fourth high school, which the district said it needs due to overcrowding, would be along Berlin Station Road on land the district owns.