By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Findlay school board and the Findlay Education Association have each approved a one-year teachers’ contract that includes a 1 percent raise and a reduction in health insurance options.
The school board approved the contract at a special meeting Wednesday morning. The union approved it Tuesday, according to Angela Dittman, FEA co-president.
Teachers will now have two health insurance options, a “traditional” plan and a health savings account, said Superintendent Ed Kurt. That’s down from three options in the previous contract.
The health savings account was already an option.
“The traditional plan was our middle-of-the-road plan,” and a “no-deductible” insurance plan was eliminated, Kurt said.
Teachers will receive a $500 stipend for attending an “insurance meeting,” Kurt said.
“Education of our employees of our insurance plan, what’s in the plan and how to use the plan is so essential for any business or company our size, to be able to manage a self-insured insurance account,” Kurt said.
Treasurer Mike Barnhart estimates the insurance change will save 6 percent, or $380,000, on medical claims and 12 percent, or $125,000, on pharmacy claims.
He noted that while that’s a total of $505,000 in annual savings, “the insurance change doesn’t take place until January so we may only see about $250K in this fiscal year.” The fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
The contract also includes a one-time $350 payment for each teacher that will not factor into base pay.
Base pay for this school year is $37,333. During the 2017-2018 school year, it was $36,963.
The one-time payment will cost the school district about $140,000 after factoring in “associated employer costs” like Medicare, the State Teachers Retirement System and Bureau of Workers’ Compensation costs, Barnhart said.
The 1 percent raise will cost $485,000, including those costs, he said.
Dittman said the average raise for Ohio teachers is higher than that, but Findlay’s teachers are “trying to help the district balance their budget.”
In a five-year financial forecast submitted to the state in May, the district was projected to overspend revenue by $400,875 in fiscal year 2019. The district would carry forward nearly $9 million in cash and would not end the fiscal year in an overall deficit.
The one-year contract agreement covers July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
“There’s some things right now with us being in operational deficit and some things that are fluid and moving,” Kurt said when asked why the contract was for one year.
“We’re trying to find areas of saving money, so we’re doing a one-year” to see what effects these changes have, Dittman said.
The previous contract was for two years. Teachers got a 2.5 percent raise followed by a $1,000 raise.
The school board on Wednesday also approved an amended school calendar, with changes based on the negotiated contract. Now there are three scheduled two-hour delays, down from seven. The delays are set for Monday, Oct. 22; Monday, Jan. 7; and Monday, March 18.
There will be three professional development days, up from two, Kurt said.
Class periods at the district’s two middle schools have increased from 40 to 43 minutes.
To accomplish that, a 40-minute period has been divided up, with some going toward lengthening class periods and some being spent on “Leader In Me” time, Dittman said.
The school day will now start at 7:25 a.m. rather than 7:30, but students won’t be marked tardy until after Labor Day, Dittman said. Information on the change was sent home with middle school students Wednesday, she said.
Students riding the bus already arrived by 7:25 a.m., Dittman said, but students who walk or get dropped off will need to make sure they are arriving on time.
The contract and amended calendar were unanimously approved Wednesday by board members Chris Aldrich, Jane Robertson and Susan Russel. Matt Cooper and Kathy Siebenaler Wilson were absent.