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Springfield school board approves wage freeze with unions for 2020-21 year

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

SPRINGFIELD TWP. The Springfield Local Schools Board of Education, during the June 30 meeting, approved a memorandum of understanding with the Springfield Local Association of Classroom Teachers (SLACT) to freeze the base wage for the 2020-21 school year at the same schedule in effect for the 2019-20 school year.

It also approved an MOU with OAPSE No. 179 (cafeteria workers) and OAPSE No. 530 (bus drivers) to also extend the collective bargaining agreement for one year and freeze the base wage for the 2020-21 school year at the same schedule in effect for the 2019-2020 school year.

Treasurer Chris Adams said it was exciting to hear that the unions got on board and the administrators and everybody in the district and accepted the pay freeze. He said passage of the August levy will also help the district.

“Next year will be a tough year,” he said. “The following year will be better.”

When a levy is passed in August, the district only receives half of the amount from the levy for the year, which would $1.5 million. Adams said it is important to pass the levy in August because, without it, the district will then lose the whole year in collections.

“That would be devastating,” Adams said. “We would have to go through that painful experience we went through the last couple of months. I don’t think anybody wants to go through that.”

Board President Dave Hofer said the Board wanted to extend their gratitude to all the employees in the district for working to get this through.

“I don’t like freezes, and I don’t like reductions but, this is something the treasurer’s office pointed out that we would need to do to get the budget balanced and to carry us forward,” he said.

Hofer said the district has an administration with “a heart for the kids, for the school district and the taxpayers and we will make them proud.”

Vice President Neal Hess thanked everyone. He said the administration is also take a pay freeze.

“I appreciate the sacrifice they are making for the district,” Hess said.

Board member Mary Lou Dodson said she is glad that they did not have to take extreme measures.

Other business:

• The board approved a resolution authorizing transfers from the General Fund.

• Adams said he is working to end the year with a cash balance in the general fund. He said the food service and athletics will need some transfers next year. For athletics, there were no events but there were still expenses. He said the district will end the year with about $93,000 in the bank, but the insurance fund is almost depleted.

“We got hit with another, for one week only, a $200,000 bill,” Adams said. “When we negotiate, we are going to have to look into options. As our work force ages, we get sick. We are going to have to figure out something to do. It was a challenge to end the year with some money.”

• The buses have been moved to the new transportation depot and the lease has ended for the former building. Hofer said it is nice that there will be no more leasing and that the board will own the facility. He thanked all of those that put so many hours into the transportation depot it will pay off.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m., July 21.