EP school workers still without contract

EAST PALESTINE – The last summer meeting of the board of education went by last week with an agreement still not reached with the classified union.

Superintendent George Fisk said a special meeting would need to be called in order to have an agreement before classes start Aug. 26.

Should an agreement not be reached by then, members of the education association have the option to begin the new school year without a new contract or strike. Should they return to school they will be working under the stipulations of the previous contract if or until a new agreement is reached.

Their last two-year contract expired June 30 and included a base freeze only and 10 percent contribution on health care.

Fisk did not wish to comment on why an agreement has not been reached and education association President Cindy McKinstry also offered no comment during the public portion of the Monday meeting.

Two phone calls to her home on Wednesday were not answered.

Negotiations between the classified union and the district began in May.

Negotiations with non-classified staff lasted one day and resulted in a three-year contract that included 2 percent base raises the first two years. That contract was approved last month and took effect Aug. 1.

In other business, Fisk announced all but one of the teaching positions has been filled. The last opening is for fifth and sixth grade science.

He also announced the new part-time special education director is Justin Haren, who was provided through the Columbiana County Educational Service Center. Haren is from the Toledo area and has already been in the district familiarizing himself with the Special Education Program, Fisk said.

Fisk and the board also wished to thank the Booster Club for their $10,000 donation that went toward refinishing the high school gym floor.

The money covered more than half the cost of the project and the remainder came from the permanent improvement fund, Fisk said.

“The plan is to get the volleyball team in there,” he added.