The Columbus City Schools Board of Education has approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the district’s teachers.
The board voted unanimously to approve of the agreement during a special meeting, which lasted less than ten minutes.
The new deal is the first three year contract that the board has reached with the Columbus Education Association, in ten years. Under its terms, teachers will receive a three percent salary increase, every year.
Additionally, the board has agreed to decrease class sizes for those teaching kindergarten through 3rd grade. The contract also calls for an increase in the number of early childhood education teachers, social workers and school nurses, by 2021. Time allotted for professional development is increased, as well.
On Sunday evening, 72 percent of the CEA members voted to adopt the new contract.
Shortly after Monday’s vote by the board, Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon applauded both sides for reaching an agreement.
“This is what we were hoping would happen and it did,” Dixon said.”Now we get to focus on our strategic priorities and our strategic goals that we set out this year and those are to increase our students’ proficiency in literacy and mathematics, and to increase our graduation rates.”
Board President Gary Baker also expressed pleasure that the contract had been finalized.
“The Board of Education is pleased with the outcome of the contract negotiations,” he said. “Many of the contract provisions will enable the District to recruit and retain the best teachers and education professionals, which in turn will have a direct impact on student academic achievement. That’s exactly what the Board wanted; it’s what our families and community wanted.”
CEA President John Coniglio attended Monday’s board meeting, but declined to comment. He did however issue a statement on Sunday, shortly after the CEA approved of the contract.
“While we have work to do, we are very proud of what our bargaining team, members, labor and community allies accomplished together,” he said. “We look forward to the new school year, implementation of our new agreement following school board ratification and continuing to fight for the schools Columbus students deserve.”
The new contract will immediately go into effect.