The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

August 30, 2013

Ashtabula Area City Schools and teachers settle contract

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula Area City School Board of Education and the Ashtabula Area Teachers’ Association (AATA) recently completed a two-year negotiations settlement.

In an effort to minimize time and expenses, a subcommittee comprised of several members of both AATA and the school board negotiating teams, worked together to arrive at agreeable terms regarding the new Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). Because of the legislative requirement to conform the district observation and evaluation system to coincide with the OTES, it was necessary for the subcommittee to recreate an entire section of the contract.

The subcommittee’s extensive undertaking of the overhaul of the observation and evaluation system also led the way to a successful and productive negotiation process which was able to be completed in a record three days.

“I am very pleased with the results of the recent AACS/AATA master agreement negotiations,” said Christine Seuffert, president of the board of education. “It represents dedication, diligence and cooperation. These are very challenging academic and financial times.”

Lisa Love, president of the Ashtabula Area Teachers Association (AATA) said, "The Ashtabula Area Teachers Association is pleased that we were able to reach a positive settlement with the Board of Education for a two-year contract.”

Superintendent Patrick Colucci said the teachers realized the uncertainty of the district’s financial future,” he said. “This will be the fifth consecutive year in a row that the teachers will not take a raise on the base.”

Sustaining a raise on the base can be problematic if the financial forecast does not change, Colucci said.

“Our teachers and administrators are the lowest paid in the county,” Colucci said. “We have been losing some terrific teachers due to cuts and salary schedule.”

The board was able to establish an insurance reserve plan and passed along some of the savings to the teachers in the form of a stipend. Additionally, teachers will receive educational or experience steps, if they are eligible.

“We are proud of the fact that we could utilize an innovative approach to compensate the teachers without jeopardizing the general fund dollars,” he said.

The AATA ratified the contract with a 98 percent approval vote.

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