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School board OKs contract with employees union

FOSTORIA — Fostoria school board approved a two-year contract Monday with the employees union representing bus drivers, maintenance and cafeteria workers.

The contract provides no wage increase on 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 today and continues through June 30, 2016. The contract was approved 3-0 by board members 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.

Treasurer Norman Elchert has said expenditures have to be reduced to stabilize district finances. Salaries and benefits are the district’s largest expense. The district has not replaced employees 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 2012-13 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 last school year and is expected to be about $9.3 million during the 2014-15 school year.

In addition, about $4.5 million was earmarked for insurance and retirement benefits in 2012-13 and that figure will decline 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.

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.

The board also approved a reduction-in-force of Justin Millisor, junior/senior high school social studies teacher. The reduction, 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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