Westlake Schools, teachers reach contract agreement
On Monday, Dec. 11, the Westlake Teachers’ Association (WTA) and the Westlake Board of Education voted to approve a new three-year contract for the district’s certified staff.
Thanks to monthly meetings between district leadership and WTA representatives, both parties have created an open channel of communication. The ongoing dialogue in these meetings, coupled with a solutions-based relationship, allowed the Board and WTA to focus on salary and benefits during the negotiation process. They were able to reach an agreement through constructive discussion and in an efficient timeframe.
“Our goal is to continue to move Westlake forward,” said WTA President Patrick McMorrow. “Holding the monthly meetings has allowed us to maintain open, two-way communication focused on creating solutions to maintain our focus on high-quality education. As such, we were able to come to a contract resolution in a positive and timely manner.”
The new contract, which begins July 1, 2018, includes an increase of 2.25 percent to the base salary for all three years. The third year will only go into effect if the treasurer can certify that the district can afford it. This is the first increase on base pay since the 2011-2012 school year. In fact, the district reduced the base pay by 2.5 percent during the 2013-2014 school year. As such, teachers’ base salaries will not exceed the level they were at in 2012-2013 until the 2019-2020 school year.
The contract also provides potential cost savings to both the district and individuals through a multiple health care option. Westlake Schools will offer an additional health care plan option for employees who don’t want or need an extensive insurance plan.
“The Westlake City School District is dedicated to fiscal responsibility and transparency while providing high-quality teachers and staff and an excellent education for our students,” said Superintendent Scott Goggin. “The meeting arrangement we have with the WTA, born out of the last round of negotiations, has opened up communication and established language to help move us forward. We were able to provide our certified staff with a base raise as well as flexibility in health care while keeping in line with our fiscal projections. I’d like to thank the WTA, district leadership and the Board for working together and coming to a resolution so efficiently.”