Staff Writer

Findlay school board approved a one-year contract with the district’s teachers on Monday, after the Findlay Education Association earlier in the day ratified an agreement that includes a $1,000 raise.

The contract does not include a percentage raise and the $1,000 raise is not considered part of base pay.

Teachers began the school year without a contract, as the previous one ended June 30. Superintendent Ed Kurt said last month that both negotiating teams “had agreed to push negotiations back to wait for the state budget to be finalized.”

The contract is for one year “because of the fact that we’re in operational deficit,” Kurt said.

Last month, the board approved a fiscal year 2020 budget that includes a $3 million general fund deficit.

“We’re happy with it,” FEA Co-President Angela Dittman said of the contract after the meeting, adding it was “the best we could do to work together and be fiscally responsible.”

The contract includes a “wellness initiative,” or financial incentives, to get a physical and attend an informational meeting about health insurance. Teachers will receive $500 for doing both, or $200 for completing only one part of the initiative.

Starting in January, employees will pay a 15 percent in-network, co-insurance obligation after meeting their health savings account non-embedded deductible.

The contract language suggests that a new operating levy may be sought: “If the district does not pass an operating levy in calendar year 2020, the co-insurance obligation will be removed beginning in January 2021.”

The district currently has two continuous operating levies.

In other business, the board approved the retirement, effective Dec. 31, of Barb Bish, human resources and community relations coordinator. She has been with the district for 32 years.

Also, Dennis Doolittle will become the director of operations, effective Jan. 1, after Dennis McPheron retires. McPheron’s retirement was approved in April.

Doolittle is now the director of custodial and maintenance services. His contract lasts through June 30, 2022.

Separately, the board heard from Ginny Williams, chief clinical officer at Family Resource Center, about the “system of care” grant awarded to the Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services last fall.

The grant provides $1 million a year for four years to improve the mental health of children and families.

Family Resource Center now has an increased presence in schools, providing either clinical or prevention education staff four days a week in the county’s “highest priority buildings.”

Separately, the board heard from Jefferson Primary School staff, and a parent, about the Advocating Behavioral Learning for Everyone (ABLE) program.

The program, now in its third year, uses applied behavior analysis to support students with autism.

The parent, whose son has autism and a traumatic brain injury, said his speaking abilities have improved and her son can now sit through sporting events, concerts and church.

He is open enrolled in Findlay City Schools.

The mother praised Jefferson’s staff, and said that Principal Kim Plesec recently told her she was thankful her son “is a part of the Jefferson family, and that is not what I felt like at my other school district.”

Rubright: 419-427-8417
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