FAIRBORN — After months of negotiations, the Fairborn Education Association and Fairborn Classified Employees Association voted “yes” on a new contract proposal Tuesday evening.
The unions, representing more than 350 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in the Fairborn City School District, made the decision during their meeting at the Fairborn American Legion.
“In a fairly tight vote the proposed tentative agreement has been accepted by both the FEA and FCEA,” said union spokesperson Brian McWhorter.
The vote came the day before a scheduled State Employee Relations Board (SERB) hearing regarding the unfair labor practice complaint the unions filed against the school board. It is the position of the unions that the board’s repudiation of the FEA and FCEA contracts on June 26, 2013 was illegal.
“As a part of the agreement, FEA and FCEA have agreed to drop the ULP charge against the board in exchange for the board agreeing in writing not to repudiate the new contract,” McWhorter said.
The union and school board representatives worked to develop a joint settlement agreement by email on Feb. 3. At the end of a six-hour negotiations session on Feb. 10, the Fairborn Board of Education provided a draft settlement agreement. The school board then approved the FEA agreement on Feb. 13.
“The FEA agreement was approved at last Thursday’s meeting contingent upon ratification by the FEA last night,” district treasurer Eric Beavers said Wednesday.
According to McWhorter, the new contract, which is effective immediately, runs through the rest of this school year and for the two years following. Under the agreement the 120-hour cap on sick leave is lifted and sick leave hours accumulated since July will be reinstated.
Though the new health insurance plan the school board approved Aug. 30 will stay the same with this contract, teachers will receive a small increase in pay to offset the additional premium costs. The teachers’ step increases will then be honored the next two years.
“We want people to know that this had nothing to do with the the small increase in salary, it was about honoring our previous contract and reinstating those parameters,” McWhorter said. “Aside from a few things, this new contract basically does that.”
Beginning next school year, the contract includes the rehire of 12 noon duty aides for the primary and intermediate schools and the reinstatement of class sizes agreed upon in the previous contract. This limits kindergarten through fifth grade classes to 25 students and grades 6-12 to 30 kids per class.
The school board will hold a special meeting Friday, Feb. 21, to approve the tentative agreement with the FCEA. The meeting will take place at 7:30 a.m. in the board room of the Board of Education office.
Amanda Crowe may be reached at 878-3993 ext. 134.