(Cuyahoga Falls) — The Cuyahoga Falls City Schools District Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of a new agreement with the Cuyahoga Falls Education Association Monday morning,. The new two-year contract was ratified by the CFEA on Friday.

“This is outstanding news for our employees, taxpayers and students and their families,” said Kellie Patterson, BOE president. “We have an agreement we can afford that will make our school district more competitive. We will be able to retain our best teachers and attract other top-notch teachers.

The new contract is back-dated to June 29, 2013 and extends to August 1, 2015. The highlights of the agreement with CFEA include:

• Employee health care premium contribution increases from 7% to 10% in 2013-2014 and to 11% in 2014-2015. This applies to both single and family coverage.
• 2% raise on base pay for both years one and two.
• Steps frozen for 2011-12 and 2012-13 will not be restored.
• One time lump sum payment of $500 for members of the bargaining unit who do not receive a salary schedule step increase.
• The Evaluation Committee will work to align evaluations not subject to the new system.
• Teachers responsible for more than 500 students will receive one additional planning period each day.

With regard to the Professional Learning Community structure and process, the District Leadership Team and Building Leadership Teams will be continued and enhanced. Teachers and administrators will continue to develop their collaborative leadership skills to drive the district using data-based decision-making frameworks.

Finally, within each group of continuing and limited contract personnel, no preference for seniority will be given upon layoff or recall, except when making a decision between teachers who have comparable evaluations.

“An evaluation rating scale was created during negotiations,” said Todd Nichols, school superintendent. “It will provide the guidelines we need to move the school district forward in harmony with current state directives.”

“Once again, we want to thank the federal mediator and the negotiation teams for their efforts,” said Patterson. “These negotiations were a true demonstration of teamwork and compromise—showing we are all in this together.”

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