Dublin OKs teachers pact, pares budget

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Dublin school officials settled business ahead of schedule at a recent board meeting.

The board approved a new two-year contract for teachers, about four months before the current pact was due to expire. Administrators also unveiled the last phase of a $5.5 million budget-cutting plan that will go into place before the next school year.

Teachers will get 3 percent raises in each year of the contract, which starts Aug. 1. They will receive additional "step increases" based on experience and educational level. The new contract features some changes in the contract wording, an additional workday for training and compensation for educators who teach extra classes during the school day.

Teachers will continue to contribute to the district's high-deductible health-insurance plan, paying annual deductibles as high as $1,100 for single coverage and $2,200 for family coverage.

The Dublin Educators' Association, which represents about 1,125 teachers, ratified the contract last month. "This contract is a good fit for the teachers and for the district's budget," union President Dawn Leibensperger said in a statement. "I am pleased with the end result."

In the 2008-09 school year, a first-year Dublin teacher with a bachelor's degree will earn $38,324; a beginning teacher with a master's degree, $42,154. A teacher with 18 years of experience, a master's degree and 45 semester hours or more of additional education will be paid $87,762 a year. Superintendent David Axner also announced more than $240,000 in cuts in what administrators expect to be the last round of reductions to maintain a strong credit rating.

They include eliminating a certified and classified position under the district's future staffing plan; scaling back the clinic aide hours at the three high schools from eight hours per day to seven; reducing the number of substitutes used when teachers are absent for professional development; reducing an alternative learning center teacher position; and slashing the district's central-office budget by $30,000.

Since February, district officials have announced a number of cuts. The district is not in financial trouble, but it needs a budget surplus large enough to cover 30 days of operating expenses, a standard for keeping a good credit rating.