Akron public school teachers will get pay raises, pay more for health insurance and see a change in the way they transfer jobs under a new three-year contract approved by board members Wednesday.
The board’s meeting was moved from the usual Monday because of a conflict with the National School Boards Association annual conference.
The teachers union, the Akron Education Association, voted to approve the contract Sunday night. The union represents about 2,000 teachers.
“We’re happy that the contract was ratified by the board this evening,” said AEA president Pat Shipe. “Our membership believes it is a fair contract. They [members] are contributing more to health care costs … Many of the workplace and work rule conditions were agreed upon.
“We are happy to move forward and start doing what our teachers do best, and that’s being in the classroom and working with the kids.”
The new contract will be effective retroactively from July 1, 2016, and continue through June 30, 2019. The previous contract expired June 30, 2016. Contact talks started a little more than a year ago.
Salary increases for the AEA staff are as follows: 1.5 percent increase retroactive to July 1, 2016; 2.25 percent increase effective July 1, 2017; and 2.5 percent increase effective July 1, 2018.
Some fringe benefits will change: Hospital, surgical and major medical insurance will be provided with the member paying 6 percent of the premium equivalent per month for the 2017-2018 school year. That will increase to 7 percent in 2018-2019. Under the old contract, members paid just under 5 percent.
Under the new plan, spouses of employees eligible to enroll in insurance plans through his/her employer must elect such coverage, unless the spouse is required to pay more than 25 percent of the single premium to participate.
The district will provide a flexible spending account to help employees save money on expenses by using pre-tax dollars.
In addition, teacher transfer language has been updated to improve the teacher assignment process allowing teachers to have a better idea of where staffing needs will be and what enrollment will be for the upcoming school year.
“Special thanks to our staff, the AEA, the board and the administration for finalizing the contract,” said Ryan Pendleton, district treasurer and chief financial officer. “Meaningful change was made on behalf of our employees for the betterment of our students.”
Also Wednesday, the school board received the master plan for the future formation of the district’s College and Career Academies of Akron, of which Superintendent David James spoke at his state of the schools address in February. The plan is a five-year guiding document for planning, implementing and sustaining school reform in the district that is updated annually.
The plan has three key elements: small-learning communities, learning through a career lens, and business and community engagement.
An academy is a small-learning community including students who share common classes and a core group of teachers who work together to develop related lessons.
Courses are taught with a focus on careers, to leverage an area of personal interest to the student. Real-world career examples are integrated with core academic knowledge so lessons become relevant and directly linked to a student’s post-secondary plan.
Academies rely on business and community engagement to provide workplace learning opportunities for students and staff with internships, mentoring programs, guest speakers, industry field trips and teacher externships.
Board members will review the master plan over the next two weeks and most like vote on it at the board’s April 10 meeting, Mark Williamson, district director of marketing communications, said.
If the plan is approved, it will be submitted to Ford Next Generation Learning for its consideration to determine if Akron becomes a designated Ford NGL district. The company’s education initiative works to prepare young people to compete successfully in the 21st century economy, according to its website. If approved, the designation ceremony would be May 16.
In other business:
• Tammy Brady, principal of Resnik elementary school, was named the district’s director of special education, effective July 1. She will be paid an annual salary of $108,316.20. The district is in the process of finding a new principal for Resnik, said Kathy McVey, the district’s executive director of human resources.
• Kenmore High School football coach Kemp Boyd was named varsity football coach at the new combined Kenmore-Garfield high school, effective in September. The one-year contract is for $7,382.56, subject to annual renewal. Former Garfield coach Bob Sax announced in February that he will step aside next year.
Monica L. Thomas can be reached at 330-996-3827 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MLThomasABJ and www.facebook.com/MLThomasABJ.