SALEM - The school board approved a new three-year contract with the union representing non-certified staff similar to what teachers received last year - small raises offset by increases to what employees pay for health insurance and retirement.
The contract was part of the consent agenda during a special meeting Wednesday night which concluded with an executive session so board members could interview the six candidates for the open seat on the board.
According to the agreement which took effect retroactive to July 1 and expires on June 30, 2016, employees will receive wage increases of 2 percent effective July 1 in both 2013 and 2014 and a 1 percent increase effective July 1, 2015.
They will also have to pay an additional 2.5 percent of the employee contribution to the retirement system and pay more toward their health insurance premium, with the amount of the increase depending on their date of hire and the number of hours they work per week.
When contacted by phone, Jim Fattler, president of Local 215 Ohio Association of Public School Employees, AFSCME/AFL-CIO, said both sides bargained in good faith. The union represents 65 bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries and duty aides who work for the school district. Fattler was a longtime custodian for 20 years at Prospect and Buckeye schools before taking the position of supply clerk at the administration building the past 10 years.
"Both the administration and the union wanted what was best for Salem schools. There was a lot of give and take, but a fair contract," he said.
Board members Brad Myers and Howard Rohleder both represented the board during the negotiations and said they went well.
"I thought the process went very smoothly," Myers said.
Superintendent Tom Bratten didn't attend the meeting. A message was left for him, but he could not be reached for comment.
Union members met last Saturday to vote on the contract, with Fattler saying the margin was 2-to-1 in favor of approving the proposed agreement. He said they spent some time going over the changes before taking the vote.
He stressed that the negotiation process between both sides was good bargaining with no yelling or name calling.
"Both sides came to what they thought was a fair contract," he said.
The previous contract expired June 30.
In other business, the board hired Sarah Milburn for grade 3, Ashley Hagan for grade 4 and Kristina While as administrative assistant. Athletic supplementals approved were Lynn Wafler as assistant varsity football coach, and Walt Kruegel and Cory Wonner as junior high assistants.
No decision was going to be made on the new board member. Board President Andrew Null said it's likely they'll call another special meeting to name the new board member who will finish the unexpired term left vacant by Nick Bush. The term expires Dec. 31, 2015.
Candidates being interviewed included Doug Moffett, Brian Shockey, Ron Irey, Angie Beck, Tony Colian and Sally Chappell.