September 30, 2020
Dear CH-UH Families,
On Tuesday morning, the Board of Education passed a resolution to implement the Board’s last, best and final offer for the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union negotiated contract. I want to provide you with some background on the situation and explain what this means moving forward.
The union’s most recent contract ended on June 30. From June 11 through August 19, the Board and the teachers union engaged in nearly 60 hours of contract negotiations. Although the Board and the union reached agreement on many issues, they failed to reach an agreement on the critical financial terms.
The District’s most recent 5-year forecast that was filed with the state indicates we face a $24 million deficit by the end of fiscal year 2023. We continue to work diligently to identify and make changes to address this deficit; however, the bleak financial outlook is the result of many factors beyond our control, including the new EdChoice voucher legislation, the State of Ohio’s decision to cut district funding and the unforeseen COVID-19-related costs. Therefore, our Board has a responsibility to make fair decisions for the welfare of our community, our students, their families and teachers.
The Board’s last, best, final offer includes the following:
- Steps: Advancement of all eligible members along the step scale set forth in the teachers’ contract, effective July 2020.
- Salaries: No increase to base salaries for the 2020-21 school year.
- Medical Insurance: Payment of 15 percent of premiums beginning January 2021, with plan design changes also beginning January 2021
- Elimination of the Board’s pick-up of 1 percent of the employee share of contributions to the State Teachers Retirement System.
The healthcare plan contribution level and plan design currently in place is out of line with those of many comparable school districts. The District’s offer still provides competitive healthcare at a reasonable cost, aligning the union’s healthcare and retirement contributions with other similar-sized school districts.
The District has already cut costs in all aspects of its operations. The Board has placed a levy on the ballot for November 2020 that will, if passed, eliminate the forecasted deficit for Fiscal Year 2022, but will not eliminate the forecasted deficit for Fiscal Years 2023 or 2024.
Despite all the District’s efforts to cut costs, the District still needs the union’s cooperation to achieve financial stability. The District’s last, final and best offer will go into effect immediately and remain in effect until such time as a successor agreement has been reached with the union.
I invite you to review this list of frequently asked questions
and write in to [email protected]
if you have any additional questions regarding this process. Please know that your students remain our top priority, regardless of the status of contract negotiations. Our teachers and our entire District are proud to continue providing them with the best, most equitable education possible.
Superintendent Liz Kirby