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Woodridge OKs new teachers contract

8/29/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

The Woodridge Local School District is starting the school year with a new teachers contract. The Woodridge Board of Education approved a new three-year contract at its Aug. 20 meeting.

Superintendent Walter Davis said, “We are absolutely thrilled to have the process completed,” adding he commended the negotiating teams for both the administration and the Woodridge Education Association (WEA) teachers union. The majority of the WEA members had approved the agreement a week earlier, he said.

The negotiators addressed “some really tough issues — things that came out of Columbus that we had to put in the contract,” Davis said. These included the new state law requiring teachers’ evaluations to be based 50 percent on their students’ achievements.

The new contract calls for 1 percent salary increases in each of the three years, and certified staff will receive a 1.25 percent cash incentive in 2013-14, 1 percent in 2014-15 and 1 percent in 2015-16, said Davis.

Teachers’ health insurance premiums will increase to 10 percent this fall, 11.5 percent in September 2014 and 12 percent in September 2015. The new contract is also adding a provision that will allow digital and alternative learning options, he said.

Just as teachers will be evaluated based half on student growth, so, too, will principals be evaluated, Davis said. The new Ohio principal evaluation system requires each building principal to be rated 50 percent on the academic growth of the students in his/her building and 50 percent on how well he/she meets the state standards for administrative effectiveness. Principals will be evaluated by the superintendent, he said.

Noting that the school board meeting was taking place on the evening of a school shooting in Georgia, Davis said Woodridge was being vigilant and has made good on its pledge to upgrade security at the schools.

The high school has created a new entrance area on the right inside the front doors where visitors must be buzzed in, register and receive a visitor’s pass. This was accomplished by moving the reception/administration office to the front of the building where the guidance counseling office was and moving guidance back to the former administrative office, said Eric Unangst, Woodridge director of technology.

All other outer doors will be locked, he said, with signs sending visitors to the front entrance. There is a security camera in the entrance area and others throughout the building that are monitored in the office.

The middle school has a similar setup, Unangst said, with a new exterior door in the front. The primary and intermediate schools already had this kind of entrance security system, he said. At all four schools, visitors will need to be buzzed in and get a pass at the office.

In other business, the board approved the list of 133 students from other school districts who will be admitted to Woodridge schools on open enrollment this year.

Not everyone who applied got in. “We turned scores of kids away because we don’t have enough space,” Davis said. “We’re pretty much maxed” for space, he added.

Many of the students coming on open enrollment are children of teachers, he said.

Open house at the high school will take place Aug. 29 beginning at 7 p.m. for parents of students. The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. in the library at Woodridge High School, 4440 Quick Road.

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