P.C. Schools finalize union contracts

Health insurance costs, base salaries affected by new deal.
Alissa Widman Neese
Nov 3, 2013
Starting next year, Port Clinton Schools employee health insurance costs will be impacted by the findings of a physical examination.

The provision is one of a handful of changes in two separate contracts district administrators and unionized employees recently finalized, one for teachers and the other for classified staff members.

School board members approved the three-year contracts in August and September, respectively.

Major changes in both contracts include:

• Health insurance premium cost increases and decreases depending on an evaluation of blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index and tobacco usage. Healthier employees will pay lower costs. Unhealthier employees or employees who do not participate in the screening will pay higher costs.

• Base salary increases — 1 percent in 2013; 1 percent in 2014; and 1.5 percent in 2015.

Employee health screening is becoming increasingly common, as it encourages personal improvement and keeps district costs down, superintendent Pat Adkins said.

“Ultimately, it results in fewer days off, fewer injuries and fewer insurance claims,” Adkins said. “Our goal is to get everyone healthy in all five categories.”

The teachers union contract also includes an amended evaluation system, which state law requires in all newly negotiated agreements. Under the new system, a combination of revamped standards and student performance in measurable areas will impact a teacher’s overall evaluation score.

Greg Grime, teachers union president, said it will be a big change, but for good reasons.

“There will be much more communication between teachers and administrators, as well as an increased focus on improving classroom instruction,” Grime said.

The classified union contract also includes an amended hiring process, which allows district officials to assess whether future employees have completed necessary training to acquire job-specific skills. Previously, the only testing was on paper.

Pam Wiechman, classified union president, said the district’s union leaders and administrators have always had a good working relationship during contract negotiations.

“Both sides were cooperative and worked together,” Wiechman said.

Classified staff members include custodians, secretaries, educational aides, cafeteria workers, mechanics, maintenance workers and bus drivers.

Port Clinton Schools employs about 135 teachers and about 80 classified employees.