Settlement reached with West Branch unions

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BELOIT, Ohio (WKBN) —  West Branch school district teachers and classified staff have reached an agreement with the Board of Education to extend their current contracts for two more years.

Teachers and classified staff won’t receive an increase in their base salaries in either year of the contract. No raises were given in the last two-year contract for either union.

In addition, all employees agreed to contribute more to their health insurance premiums. Presently, teachers and classified staff members pay a fixed amount toward their health insurance premiums, which does not increase as health care costs increase.

Under the new agreement, employees’ contribution will rise to 10 percent of the health care premium and will increase as health care costs increase. If the school district realizes any savings in their health care premiums (commonly known as a premium holiday) then the employees will share in a portion of the savings to offset increases in health care costs.

West Branch Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart said health care is a very expensive part of doing business, both in the private and public sector.

Any employee who qualifies for a step movement on the salary schedule will receive an increase to go along with their experience. Salaries are linked to the number of years an employee has worked for the district.

The average base salary for teachers in Mahoning County is $31, 997. West Branch teachers begin at $30, 212, which is the second lowest in all of Mahoning County, Weingart said.

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