St. Marys Teachers Accept Pay Freeze

Staff Writer

Teachers make sacrifices for their students on a regular basis. Wednesday evening, the St. Marys Education Association agreed to make sacrifices for the district it serves.

During the board of education meeting, the board and SMEA approved an agreement to accept a freeze in base salary and step increases for experience and longevity for the current school year. The Ohio Association of Public School Employees — who represents the district's bus drivers — also agreed to a pay freeze, as did the district's administrators.

The contract with the SMEA is valid for the 2018-19 school year and will be reevaluated later for the following year but the contract with OAPSE is valid for three years.

The decision to freeze pay was not made lightly, according to school board member Ron Wilker, but it was done to benefit the district while the school prepares to evaluate its financial position going forward.

With the previous cost-saving measures and cuts to programming combined with the pay freeze, the district estimates it will save $1.2 million for the 2018-19 school year. The agreement was part of the teachers union's continuing effort to put the students first, SMEA representative Kathy Jeffries told the board.

The unified effort is part of the district's effort to pass a 1 percent earned income tax levy for operating expenses on the Nov. 6 election day. Without additional revenue, the district anticipates it will have to perform the difficult task of making "significant" cuts to the programs available to its students. A list of impacted programs and services is expected in the coming weeks.

To read the full story, pick up a copy of Thursday's print edition of The Evening Leader.