LORDSTOWN SCHOOLS Overseer declines to consider contract

Both sides confirmed a tentative agreement had been reached but not voted on.
LORDSTOWN -- A state commission overseeing school district finances declined to consider a tentative contract agreement between the teachers union and school board.
The commission was appointed early this year to oversee district finances. State Auditor Jim Petro's office declared the district in fiscal emergency in December 2000.
Pact details: Neither the teachers nor the school board had voted on the tentative pact, which called for a 3 percent salary increase this school year and next year. It would have bumped the starting salary to $25,449 for this school year and $26,213 next year.
The maximum for a teacher with a master's degree would have been $52,081 this school year and $53,643 next school year.
The agreement also had included a $500 signing bonus this year and $250 signing bonus for the next school year.
The tentative pact was reached Sept. 27, according to a publication of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
Both sides confirmed that a tentative agreement had been reached, but said neither the school board nor the Lordstown Teachers Association had voted on it.
"We just talked about it among ourselves and agreed, but it had to go before the commission," said Roxanna Holton, a school board member.
"Under the circumstances, we thought we had a very fair agreement," said Patrick Pollifrone, LTA president.
But the commission didn't vote on it. Members couldn't be reached this morning.
A five-year 6-mill levy on the November ballot would generate about $770,000 annually for the district.
The teachers have been working without a contract since August 2000.
Complaint settled: In July of this year, the board and teachers union settled an unfair-labor-practice complaint filed by the union. The union had filed the complaint with the State Employment Relations Board in February, contending the board's December 2000 implementation of a three-year contract constituted an unfair labor practice.
The union had called off a threatened strike Dec. 8, 2000, when the fiscal emergency was declared, and called off talks until the state commission was in place and district finances could be made clearer.
The school board approved a three-year contract Dec. 7, 2000, calling for a wage freeze the first year with wage reopening clauses the second and third years. The contract also included a different insurance plan from the pact that expired in August 2000.
The July agreement returned the teachers' contract to the status it held before Dec. 7.
LTA now plans to file a complaint with SERB, contending the school board has failed to restore the contract in effect before Dec. 7, 2000.