Teachers agree to extension

By Kristine Gill



Austintown teachers will receive a 1 percent salary increase for 2010-11 and a pay freeze for 2011-12 under a two-year contract extension.

Teachers also will increase their employee contribution by 20 percent for single-coverage health care and about 30 percent for family-coverage health care.

“We’re relieved we have a contract for another year,” said Austintown Education Association President Sandy DeCerbo.

The 1 percent increase for the district’s 327 teachers will cost $194,000 this school year.

Superintendent Vince Colaluca said money put toward the 1 percent increase will be paid off in what teachers will now pay for health-care coverage and an increased workload for teachers, who will pick up additional classes at the high school level.

This year was a contract reopener for teachers who have had pay freezes since 2007.

Teachers still will receive step increases for longevity.

When state Senate Bill 5 came to light last month, the game changed.

“That’s when the members decided to ask the board to extend the entire contract for another year,” DeCerbo said. “It’s the uncertainly of knowing when it’s going to pass, what’s going to be in it, who it’s going to affect. It’s the uncertainty of it all.”

Negotiations will begin again in 2012 after the fate of SB 5 is known.

The average teacher salary in Austintown schools is $50,000. Starting teacher salary is now $29,737 and a teacher with at least 28 years of experience makes $69,019.

The increase in insurance premiums for the two-year contract was changed from a 7.5 percent capped rate to a 10 percent uncapped rate. Teachers had been paying an average of $1,200 a year toward their family insurance. They now will pay $1,400.

“That really is a big sacrifice,” Colaluca said.

“We’re just really excited that we worked together collectively with the teachers and have a two-year contract solidified this year. This will hold us over for one more year to see which direction we’re going with the legislature.”