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Revere OKs new OAPSE contract with wage freezes

9/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Revere Local School District Board of Education approved a new contract with its classified, nonteaching staff at the Sept. 18 meeting.

The three-year agreement with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) members includes a wage freeze and no step increases, as well as modifications to health care and wellness, Treasurer Dave Forrest said. According to the agreement, union members will receive a one-time $250 payment this year and $700 stipends paid out in four payments in the following two years.

“This was a very collaborative effort,” Superintendent Randy Boroff said. “We’re very pleased with the open conversations we had with the members and their willingness to look at the big picture. We are trying to contain costs to extend the levy cycle.”

The contract is effective from July 1 of this year through June 30, 2015. It was approved by a vote of 4-0, with board member George Seifert absent.

Board President Claudia Hower also expressed her appreciation to the union members.

“We’re very proud of all our employees that understood the current economic situation,” she said. “This shows how much they care about the district and we appreciate it.”

In other business, the board adopted a strategic plan for the district. Boroff said the plan came after a year of work by many members of the community.

“We are really pleased to have this document, something that guides us,” he said. “We are putting into effect many of these items already.”

The plan includes a mission statement, vision statement and strategic priorities in the areas of community engagement, facility/infrastructure, finance, teaching and learning, and wellness.

As part of the introduction of the plan, the district will host two community meetings this year, with the first planned Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., following the board’s monthly meeting. Boroff and Forrest will address attendees on the state of the district.

In other business, Boroff noted during his report the district is looking into how changes to the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) could affect staffing in the near future.

“We are doing research to see how many of our staff are near retirement and what we would have to do to replace staff,” he said.

According to STRS officials, the Ohio General Assembly passed proposed changes to state pension plans Sept. 12. The bill takes effect the first of the year, but most of the STRS changes will take effect July 1.

Boroff added the school year has gotten off to a busy start for administrators as they deal with coming changes to the way they evaluate students and staff.

“We are trying to stay on the front end of gigantic changes that are coming,” he said.

In her report, Assistant Superintendent Kathy Bearer talked about one of the changes the district is making, which is to modify the kindergarten report card to reflect mandated changes in curriculum. She added that changes also would be coming to other elementary grade report cards.

Bearer also said the staff is gearing up to comply with the new Third Grade Reading Guarantee as dictated by Ohio Senate Bill 316.

“We will be giving greater emphasis to early intervention and reading,” she said.

The challenge of the requirement is that students must achieve a certain score on a state reading test to move on from third to fourth grade, she said. This year’s second-grade class at Hillcrest Elementary School will be the first to be affected by this, Bearer added.

In other news, Bearer said the Ohio Department of Education has yet to release the state report cards. The information could be released at the end of the month, she added. At the time of the meeting, Bearer said the district does know that it earned an “Excellent” rating, but how it fared in areas such as Adequate Yearly Progress and Value Added was unknown.

In his report, Business Manager Kevin Matowitz said the window replacement project is under way at the high school. As of last week, the second floor was finished and work was progressing on the first floor of the building.

“They really look fantastic,” he said. “It’s amazing the transformation in those rooms.”

Also during the meeting, the board congratulated Revere High School seniors that have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists. They are Athanasios Burlotos, Julia Deng, Chris Pollard, Evan Sasowsky, Zachary Wilson and Patrick Zhang.

The board also heard a presentation from freshman Camryn Brown, who showed her electronic portfolio from eighth grade. Students use the project to show what they learned and achieved during their middle school years, according to Revere Middle School Principal Joe Niemantsverdriet.

The board will conduct a work session Oct. 9 at the Administration Building, 3496 Everett Road. The next regular meeting will be Oct. 16 at 5 p.m. in the Revere High School Library, 3420 Everett Road, followed by the state of the district community meeting at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

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