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Highland board OKs three-year agreement with support staff

5/24/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Christopher Roberts
Photo courtesy of Highland Local Schools
At the Highland Local Schools Board of Education’s May 21 meeting, Superintendent Catherine Aukerman said negotiations with the Highland Support Staff Association (HSSA) resulted in a three-year agreement to begin this July 1 with a “zero, zero, zero salary increase for all members of the support staff,” which the board approved.

Besides the pay freeze for the contract period, the agreement also includes incremental increases in employee contributions to their health plans, from 10 percent to 15 percent to 20 percent, said Aukerman.

“We would like to extend the levy cycle as far as we can,” added Aukerman. “Clearly, the support staff understands that.”

Also at the meeting, the board hired Christopher Roberts as the new assistant principal at Highland Middle School, with a two-year contract, effective Aug. 1. He replaces LeAnn Gausman, who was recently appointed as the new principal of Granger Elementary.

Roberts attended the meeting with his wife and two children. An Akron resident, he has seven years of experience in education, according to Highland officials. Roberts has worked the past three years as a fifth-grade teacher in Wadsworth City Schools, and prior to that, was employed in Coventry Local Schools. Roberts has a bachelor’s degree in middle level education, as well as a master’s degree in education administration and principal licensure from The University of Akron (UA).

John Deuber, principal at the middle school, said Roberts was chosen from among a pool of more than 120 applicants.

“Mr. Roberts clearly understands the role of an instructional leader in the development of Highland effective educators who can deliver a world class education to our students here at Highland,” he said.

In other hiring news, the board also welcomed Laura Stoner, who was given a one-year limited contract of employment to work as an intervention specialist at Sharon Elementary next school year. Principal Connie Marzullo noted Stoner was chosen from among 382 applicants to fill the position. Stoner has been working in Revere Local Schools and has a bachelor’s degree from UA, she added.

In other business, the board:

• approved an updated five-year forecast and assumptions for the period ending June 30, 2016, as presented by Treasurer Neil Barnes;

• authorized Barnes to advertise and accept bids for copier equipment and related services;

• heard from foreign exchange student Chen Cui, who will return to China later this month after spending the school year at Highland. Cui thanked the community, including the board and his host family, the Karwowskis, who live in Sharon, for their hospitality;

• approved an increase in lunch prices from $2.50 to $2.75 at the elementary schools and from $2.75 to $3 at the middle and high schools. Aukerman noted school lunch prices have not increased since 2004;

• approved changes and additions to the middle school and high school handbooks for the next school year; and

• accepted donations, including $3,075 from businesses and individuals to the high school Robotics Club; $300 from community members for the high school Chris Riehm Memorial Fund; and $75 from a Highland family for a Magical Theatre Company performance.

The next regular Highland school board meeting is scheduled for June 18 at 7 p.m. in the Highland High School Media Center, 4150 Ridge Road.

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