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School board eliminates fourth-grade position, approves teachers’ contract By Beth Church
Due to low enrollment, a fourth-grade teaching position is being eliminated at Rossford Schools.
At Monday’s meeting, the Rossford Board of Education voted unanimously to abolish the position.
After the meeting, Superintendent Dan Creps said there currently are six fourth-grade classes which will be reduced to five in 2016-17.
“As difficult as that is, we need to evaluate that on an annual basis,” he said. “We are continually looking at how we can make adjustments but still meet the needs of our students. The was one of those tough decisions.”
Enrollment in each will be about 24 students, Mr. Creps added.
Under the teachers’ union contract, primary classes can be as large as 29 students.
Eliminating the position will save about $40,000 for salary, plus the benefits package, according to the superintendent.
Also at the meeting, the board unanimously approved a three-year contract with the Rossford Association of Classroom Teachers.
The contract grants teachers a half-percent raise in their base salary during the first year, plus a half-percent one-time payment.
During both the second and third years, they will receive 1 percent one-time payments.
Mr. Creps believes the new contract “rewards our teachers for the hard work they put in on a daily basis, but also respects the financial challenges we face.”
A new matrix for step pay increases also was adopted in the contract.
In the previous model, there were 10 stages, based on the number of semester hours completed toward a master’s degree or doctorate.
The matrix now has only six stages, Mr. Creps said, and the top two of specialist and doctorate were eliminated.
In addition, the contract moves the employees to a benchmark health insurance plan as part of the Wood County Health Consortium.
The benchmark plan includes a higher deductible and increases some co-pays, Mr. Creps said.
A new option of a high deductible health care plan with a health savings account was added for contractual employees, as well.
“That will be a savings to the school district,” the superintendent added.
Moving to the benchmark program is estimated to save the district $10,472 for single employees and $125,680 for those with a family plan, or a total of $135,752, according to treasurer James Rossler Jr.
The HSA will offer a savings of about $4,200 per family enrolled in the system, he said.
School board president Dawn Burks thanked the RACT members and school administrators for “working as a team” to finalize the contract that becomes effective September 1.
Board members Kent Murphree and Tiffany Densic also were part of the negotiating team.
“I thought it was a fair deal,” Mr. Murphree said. “Both sides worked diligently. I think the teachers understand the environment we’re in.”
Interest-based bargaining was used during negotiations, Mr. Creps said.
“There was a mutual understanding that we have to continue to review for the future–that decisions we make today impact years beyond.”
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Rossford lies at the heart of the Crossroads of America, an area experiencing tremendous economic growth, located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The city's population of approximately 6,000 is primarily a mix of descendants of Polish, Czechoslovakian, German and Ukrainian workers who came from Pennsylvania to work at the glass plant, now Pilkington.
Rossford was incorporated as a village in 1939 and as a city in 1971. The City is a municipal corporation which operates under its own charter and is governed by a mayor and seven-member City Council. Rossford is served by full-time police and part-time fire departments, dispatched from the neighboring Village of Walbridge.
The City maintains a Community Recreation Center and three parks, one of which,Veterans Memorial Park, features a seasonal marina along with picnic areas and diamonds and courts for baseball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Rossford has three elementary schools, Glenwood, Indian Hills and Eagle Point, a junior high and high school and All Saints parochial school for grades pre-kindergarten through eight.
The city boasts a public library and many service and community organizations such as the Rossford Business Association, Lions Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Its Rossford Community Service League sponsors annual activities such as a Valentine's Day Dance, Easter egg hunt, Halloween, Memorial Day parades and their Christmas tree lighting.
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