Westlake school board, teachers approve new contract

The Westlake Board of Education and the Westlake Teachers Association approved a one-year contract that freezes base pay and step increases, and implements coordination of benefits for all teachers.

Teachers who complete additional education and obtain an advanced academic degree will be eligible for additional pay by moving to a new column on the salary schedule. The new contract also eliminates spousal insurance for all teachers. Spousal insurance was eliminated for new teachers in 2006, but grandfathered in for veteran teachers. Under the new contract, the grandfather clause is removed. Spouses who obtain their own insurance will be reimbursed by the district up to $175 per month beginning Jan. 1. Even with the reimbursement the elimination of spousal insurance will save the district $240,000 annually.

The contract, which runs July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, saves up to 13 teaching positions and will save the district $2.3 million over the next four years.

Board President Carol Winter said the agreement is fair to both the community and to members of the Westlake Teachers Association.

“The Board’s goals with these negotiations were quite clear – balance the appreciation our community and this Board has for our teachers and the services they provide to our students with the Board’s continued efforts to safeguard taxpayer dollars and our community’s investment in our schools,” Winter said. “This agreement shows that the teachers are willing to work together with the Board to help alleviate the financial challenges we still face.”

WTA President Amy Butcher agreed that the contract strikes a balance that is fair to both the teachers and the Westlake taxpayers.

“The negotiations process was very amiable,” Butcher said. “Both sides worked together through the process so we could all return to what’s important – educating kids.”

WTA represents about 300 teachers, counselors and media specialists in Westlake’s seven school buildings.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:06 AM, 04.15.2014