NILES, Ohio (WKBN) — School continued in Niles on Thursday without any interruption. An agreement on a new teachers’ contract was reached just before it expired at midnight.
Teachers approved it, and the Board of Education also passed it Thursday morning.
The vote was 4-0 with one member abstaining. State law did not allow him to vote since his wife was a member of the bargaining unit.
It was a tough negotiation for both sides, but they got the job done, and the school year started on time.
“Our teachers are ecstatic to be where they’re supposed to be, and I think the administrative team with a 4-0 vote today, the board’s very excited. We’re all holding our heads up high saying it’s a good day in Niles,” said Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen.
“We wanted our teachers in the buildings teaching our kids. That’s something that we’re very much looking forward to for the next three years. We’ve been through a lot as a district and a community and the best days are ahead of us,” said Niles Board of Education President Tony Perrone.
According to Thigpen, the main contract points are a 4% base salary increase and a $2,500 bonus in year one, a raise of 3% for the second year and a $2,000 bonus. There’s no bonus in the final year, just a 4% salary hike. Teachers with 30 years in the district also receive a new step on the salary schedule.
In a statement, Thigpen also said, “Both parties have agreed to transition health care plans to the Trumbull County Insurance Consortium – a move that will ultimately save the District and teachers money on their benefit contributions…Also, recognizing everyone’s interest in keeping the ratio of students to teachers at an ideal number for student learning, the new contract provides for more optimal class sizes for our elementary students. We believe this is a fair contract that shows our great appreciation for our teachers while fulfilling our duty to be fiscally responsible to our taxpayers.”
The new contract is for three years and expires on Aug. 31, 2025.