Campbell teachers, school board OK contract

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Campbell teachers on Tuesday approved a two-year contract agreement with the school district.

Campbell Education Association union members approved the contract with a 59-2 vote at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church. The Campbell Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the deal at a meeting Tuesday evening.

There are 93 employees represented by the CEA, but only a quorum was needed to hold the vote, according to union member Ryan Stowell, who teaches music at Campbell Elementary School.

“The CEA is pleased we were able to maintain our steps of our contract and for the first time in several years the teachers will be able to move forward instead of backward in terms of cost of living and health care,” said union spokeswoman Colleen Joss.

Union officials previously said they agreed to a wage freeze and increased their health care and retirement contributions to save the district money in their last two-year contract.

Superintendent Thomas Robey said the two-year contract includes previously negotiated step increases in the first and second year, plus an additional 1 percent salary increase in the second year. He said teachers who are not eligible for a step increase will receive a $500 one-time stipend in the first year of the contract and the 1 percent salary increase in year two.

Stowell said only teachers who have been with the district 14 years or less are eligible for step increases. He said the step increases apply to about half of the district’s teachers.

In addition to the raises, teachers will contribute 1 percent more to their health care premiums each year of the contract, meaning they will contribute an additional 2 percent in the contract’s second year.

Robey said the contract also clarifies some language on teacher evaluations and modifies some personal leave provisions.

A federal mediator helped the two sides reach the agreement after the union issued a notice of intent to strike on Aug. 26, which is the first day of classes in the district.

Robey said the board has a negotiating session on Thursday morning with Campbell’s classified union, which covers district secretaries, bus drivers, educational aides, cooks and janitors. He said negotiations with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees have been ongoing for three or four months, and he is hoping a settlement with the teachers union helps those talks.

The Campbell Board of Education also approved a contract for Robey that will allow him to work as a consultant for the district for a total of 30 days between Thursday and Dec. 31. New superintendent Matt Bowen takes over on Thursday.

Robey said his consulting work will have two main focuses. One will be overseeing the district’s participation in the House Bill 264 program, which is an Energy Conservation Program that allows districts to make energy-efficient improvements to their buildings and use the cost savings to pay for them. He said he will act as a liaison between the board and the contractors and ensure the project moves forward.

His second focus will be implementing a transition plan for Bowen and two other district administrators who are new this year.

Robey said he also will help district staff implement an online school for this academic year. The online program is aimed at helping the district recover students it has lost through open enrollment and charter schools.

“Both sides felt this was a fair deal and we were never out to take everything the board had. They’re comfortable with where they’re going to be financially and we’re comfortable our members are getting fairly compensated for their services,” Stowell said.

He said if the district does not do something to boost enrollment and increase revenue in the next two years, contract talks could end up the same way as this year.

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