Three Rivers approves 2-year contract extension

CLEVES, OH (FOX19) - The Three Rivers Board of Education approved a two year extension of the teacher and support staff master contracts at a special board meeting Tuesday night.

The extended contract calls for a three year pay freeze on both base salary and step increases, along with health care concessions. Both unions voted to ratify the contracts, which will spare the district from deeper cuts to staff and programs.

The union leadership saved jobs and preserved academic programs by agreeing to concessions.

"The staff believes that Three Rivers has positive momentum and wants to maintain both the district's high academic rating and broad base of community support," said board president Angela Weisgerber.

Three Rivers will ask the community to renew the operating levy passed in 2005 at the ballot in November 2011. This will allow the schools to keep the current operating money without asking for new tax dollars.  The District Board of Education has made it clear that the District will continue to operate efficiently-keeping costs down and operating with a smaller budget than it's had in the past several years.

The district made major cuts in 2004 and 2005 totaling over $2.5 million out of a $20 million dollar budget. Since that time the district has continued to make reductions, including an additional $1.1 million of cuts made in the spring of 2011.  The cumulative impact will soon bring a $20 million dollar budget down to $16 million dollars.

The last negotiated contract in 2009 had provisions for a 2 percent increase on the base salary which will now be forfeited by employees or "given back" to the district.  Health care concessions were also made; employees will be paying a higher percentage of premiums.

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