Rossford teachers to get raises under 3-year contract

Terms include increase in share of medical insurance costs


Rossford teachers will be getting a pay raise over the course of their new three-year contract, but they’ll also be paying more for their medical insurance.

The contract ratified by the Board of Education last week becomes effective Sept. 1 and extends through Aug. 31, 2016. Under its terms, teachers get no increase the first year, a 1 percent increase the second year, and a 1.5 percent increase in year three.

The official “raises,” however, don’t tell the whole story. The contract includes step increases that will mean salary hikes. A teacher with a bachelor’s degree in his or her second year on the job will see a salary that is 4 percent higher than a starting teacher. In 2014-15, the same teacher will get a 4 percent increase in addition to the 1 percent official raise. The step increases continue through most years of the contract, even as the district’s revenues are expected to shrink.

The district’s 140 teachers currently pay a 10 percent share of their medical insurance premiums, but that will increase to 12.5 percent in the first year of the contract and 15 percent in years two and three.

The teachers ratified the contract before the board did. The board’s ratification vote was 4-1, with member Jackie Brown dissenting.

She said she felt the contract was ill-advised, given that the district was projected to lose $1.5 million in revenue each year for the next three years.

“I do have concerns with the contract. I would love to give everybody a raise, but I don’t believe the district can afford it,” she said.

The new contract will result in a net cost increase to the district of $53,000 the first year, $215,000 the second year, and $453,750 in year three, according to figures provided by Treasurer James Rossler.

Superintendent Dan Creps said the agreement was a good one for the district, which is trimming costs by leaving positions unfilled. “We worked hard to come up with this agreement,” he said. “Everybody came together. It is fair.”

Under the pay scale effective Sept. 1, a starting teacher with a bachelor’s degree would be paid $38,468. In the last year of the contract, the starting pay for a teacher with the same credentials increases to $39,436.

A teacher with 25 years on the job and a bachelor’s degree would be paid $66,615 this coming school year and $68,291 in 2015-16. In the final year of the contract, the highest paid teacher, one with a PhD and 25 years of service, would be paid $100,227.

Rossford’s teachers are paid more than their peers in comparable districts, according to data from the Ohio Department of Education, and their salaries from the 2001-02 school year to 2009-10 have increased twice as much as the incomes of Rossford residents.

The average teacher salary in Rossford for 2009-10 was $65,853, compared to a state average of $55,958. The average Rossford income in 2009-10 was $55,320. Rossford’s teachers are the highest paid in Wood County.

Mr. Rossler said the new contract was a step in the direction of bringing Rossford’s teacher pay into alignment with that of other districts. He noted that the Rossford district had lost about 10 percent of its tax base and probably would have to ask voters next year for more operating money.

The district is requesting adoption of a 37-year, 4.63-mill levy in November to finance the first phase of an extensive upgrade of school facilities. Rossford resident Bob Densic, a licensed architect who volunteered his time to help with the planning for the project, said the new teachers’ contract, and its spending increases in a time of contracting revenues, could hurt the levy’s chances with voters.

“The Rossford district has had a spending problem for years,” he said.