COVENTRY TWP. Members of the Coventry Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Local 131 packed the Coventry school board meeting on Sept. 20.
Those classified employess, which include bus drivers, secretaries, custodians and cafeteria workers, made it known they are not happy to not have a contact. The district has 80 classified employees who have been working without a contract for well over a year. Negotiations began July 23, 2015, but no contract has been reached.
OAPSE Field Representative Trina Molnar Bock said she believes the district is trying to break the union. She said the union has proposed cost saving measures and increased insurance premiums, but workers have not gotten a raise in five years. She also said the administration continues to receive percentage increases that range from 2 percent to 3.5 percent.
Community member Mark Warner asked the board how many administrators the district has, to which Superintendent Russell Chaboudy replied saying the district has 11.
Warner said the salary for those 11 is $1.1 million each year and he believes some fat needs to be cut from the top. He said it is wrong the classified employees are getting shot down year after year for a raise.
"What you are doing now is wrong," Warner said.
Chaboudy said continued discussions are underway for a new contract. The board said it would not comment on the issue since negotiations are ongoing.
In other business Sept. 20 the board:
- Heard from board president Robert Wohlgamuth who recognized 29 staff members for perfect attendance. Of the 29, 14 were bus drivers. He also recognized several staff members for their years of service with the district.
- Heard from Wohlgamuth about the fiscal emergency situation the district continues to face. He said committees have been meeting and a lot of ongoing things have been taking place. He said a five-year permeant improvement plan is being finalized and may be presented at the next board meeting. He said the plan was a suggestion of the state performance audit.
- Heard from Treasurer Matthew Muccio about the outlook for fiscal year 2017. He said fiscal year 2016 finished with a $1.8 million ending balance in the general fund. Projections show the district finishing fiscal year 2017 with a balance between $750,000 and $1 million. Muccio said this is a smaller balance, but it takes into consideration paying the state of Ohio $2.4 million, half of the money borrowed from the Solvency Assistance Fund. He originally thought the district would have to borrow additional money in fiscal year 2017, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
- Heard from Chaboudy who said there will be an auction for the items in Turkeyfoot Elementary School. The building will also be auctioned off, but a date for the auction has not been finalized.
- Heard from several community members about continued concerns about the number of open enrollment students the district accepts. Several residents said they will not vote for any levy the district puts before voters and will tell their neighbors also not to support it until there are changes with open enrollment.
The next Coventry Local Schools board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at Lakeview Administrative Offices.