Facing a $5 million deficit to start the 2012-2013 budget process, all of the Warren County School District employee bargaining units have taken some form of a concession to provide financial relief to the district.
Modified agreements with the administrative staff and the support personnel were announced last Thursday night at a special meeting of the district's board of directors.
Coming in a vote on June 21, the Warren County Educational Support Personnel Association accepted a pay freeze for the upcoming school year.
"Our members understand the damage done to the district by the governor's drastic budget cuts, so when we were approached by the district, we knew we had to find a way to help," said WCESPA Vice President Clara McKotch in a statement released Thursday night. "We're pleased that we were able to work with the district to find a way to help them balance the budget while giving our folks some peace of mind that there wouldn't be any further unforeseen furloughs."
"I would like to thank the support staff for the concession," Superintendent Brandon Hufnagel said during the meeting. "That will help us in future years."
According to the WCESPA, which represents 269 employees, the memorandum of agreement approved Thursday provides for a pay freeze for the 2012-2013 school year, no additional furloughs in the upcoming school year and the possibility of a return of some furloughed employees in 2012-13.
The memorandum indicates that, "Based on the final calculations of savings to the district in the 2012-2013 budget, the district will return furloughed employees to work for any savings above $180,000."
The agreement also tacks a year onto the length of the contract, extending it from 2014 to 2015.
In addition, the district agreed to terminate its contract with All Clean, the company which had supervised the custodial program in the district.
Hufnagel noted that four positions will be created three custodial managers and a lead custodial manager to manage the district's custodial program.
He explained that those positions won't be desk jobs.
The district will look to hire "supervisors who will be able to pick up when help is needed," Hufnagel added. "We can have (these positions) in place and ready to go in the fall."
The board voted unanimously to approve the creation of the positions.
"I have great expectation of what this is going to do," board member Tom Knapp said. "I hope it is far beyond my expectation. I hope they come through on what the intent is."
Agreements were also reached with the three administrative bargaining entities that represent certificated, non-certificated and administrative support staff.
Letters to the bargaining entities from board President Arthur Stewart indicate that "the negotiated partial salary freeze allows administrators to reach the pay rate originally planned for the 2011-2012 school year. Administrators took a full pay freeze in the 2011-2012 school year."
Increases in employee contributions to the district health insurance plan, negotiated with the Warren County Education Association last month, will apply to administrative staff as well, according to the letters but will see a 1.75 percent salary increase over the course of the upcoming school year.
All of the administration bargaining units agreed to the same set of concessions.