School District, OAPSE Agrees to New Two-Year Contract

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District (SOLSD) Board of Education met for its monthly regular session meeting on Aug. 27. Highlighting a largely uneventful meeting was a contract renewal with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) union and a new policy in regards to movies shown in the classroom.

The contract with OAPSE is actually considered a two-year agreement, but expires on Dec. 31 of 2015. OAPSE employees have been working since Dec. 31, 2013 with no new contract while negotiations were underway. The new contract includes an insurance concession from the union.

Under the previous contract, employees working a minimum of 20 hours per week had full insurance benefits. Under the new contract, that minimum is upped to 30 hours per week. “That will add but to substantial savings for the district moving forward,” said SOLSD Treasurer Lance Erlwein. Erlwein added that the concession brings the district more in line with the private sector and aligns with standards from the Affordable Care Act. Current employees will be grand-fathered in, with new employees being the only ones affected by the change. 

The contract also included no pay raise for OAPSE employees. Erlwein said the district is appreciative of what OAPSE and the Switzerland of Ohio Education Association (the teacher’s union) have done to help the district through its trying financial times. He noted that both unions negotiated directly without attorneys present, saving the district money in the negotiation process as well.

The board also passed a new policy establishing guidelines for classroom/building movies. The policy states, “When movies are rated anything above General Audiences the teachers should get the building principal’s prior approval for showing the movie and then send a notice, in advance, to all parents with students in the classroom with the opportunity for parents/students to ‘opt out’ of the showing.” The policy also designates that any parent complaints be directed to the building principals first.

The next regular session meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 6 p.m. at Beallsville.