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June Board News

Agreements have been reached with teachers and classified employees in the Edison Local School District after contracts were ratified on Thursday.

   During the regular school board session at Edison High School, officials approved negotiated agreements with both the Edison Local Education Association (ELEA) and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local No. 35. Under its memorandum of understanding with the district, teachers will receive a 4-percent pay increase with a $600 signing bonus while OAPSE members will grant $2-per-hourfor all classified staff in a three-year deal.

   Superintendent Bill Beattie said the teachers and staff will receive pay increases while leaders keep an eye on the district’s finances in the wake of Energy Harbor’s W.H. Sammis Plant closure in Stratton last summer.

   “This is the third year of our contract [with the ELEA] and we’ve had salary reopeners for the last two years. We had a one-year agreement on the salaries because of the uncertainty of our finances. In 2022-23 and 2023-24, we negotiated the salary only and had an MOU on the salary for one year,” Beattie said. “Next year, we will negotiate the entire contract with the ELEA.”

  Additionally, the board granted administrative employees the same wage increases as the ELEA agreement.  He added that the three-year deal with OAPSE extends from July 1, 2024, to June 31, 2027, and also includes some pay increases.

   “With OAPSE, we negotiated for three years on language and one year for the salary with salary reopeners for years two and three of the contract,” Beattie commented. “They got $2 per hour for all classifications. We also added longevity steps and a $300 signing bonus.”

   Beattie said the deals impact approximately 108 teachers and about 65-70 staff members and leaders were pleased with the results.

  “I think both unions received a fair deal depending on the uncertainty of our finances,” he added. “We are pleased with what we could do. We’re still doing well financially and the trickle-down effect through the plant closure hasn’t started completely affecting us at this time.”

  The company’s shutdown last July affected 140 employees with layoffs after serving the community since 1960. It first operated as Ohio Edison then merged to become FirstEnergy nearly 40 years later, but it was later renamed Energy Harbor after emerging from bankruptcy in 2020. The financial impact of the plant’s closure is not yet fully known, but for now Edison prepared to take an estimated $2.3 million hit to its budget starting in 2024. Officials said that figure is reflected in the loss of some property tax but the exact impact has not been realized. The $2 million figure does not take all of the company’s land parcels into account and it will remain under review, but district leaders were hopeful that funding from the Rover Pipeline will help cushion the blow. The pipeline company has been in an ongoing legal battle in an attempt to reduce its 2019 property tax valuation by $2 billion, but the matter remains on appeal. The district has been monitoring the situation and has attempted to adjust the five-year forecast accordingly, but officials still must determine the full effect on real estate and public utility property taxes in the future. The closure has also impacted Jefferson County and the village of Stratton.

   In related personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Chandler Hoppel, who served as a guidance counselor at EHS for the past three years, and named Collette Honsowetz as her successor. Honsowetz will begin her duties in August. Other staffing decisions included holding a public hearing on the retire/rehire of EHS Principal Matt Morrison; approving a service agreement and SRO package with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office for services at the high school; accepting the resignation of Shannon Bahen as assistant softball coach and junior high assistant volleyball coach; approving supplemental contracts for Jessica McCallister as math chair, Jamie Angelini as preschool director and Bethany Cera as athletic trainer with Bev Sansone and Nick Hughes gaining five extended days, McCallister being named student council advisor and Mychi Stewart to serve as band volunteer at the high school; employing Robert Moody as a custodian at EHS; hiring Jamie Barker as a summer intern effective June 10; approving an agreement with the Columbiana County Educational Service Center for occupational therapy for the 2024-25 school year;  approving physical therapy agreements with PTA Amy Purcell and MSPT Kelly Crosby for the upcoming school year; and approving OAPSE substitutes including Joyce Moody and Heaven Nave as secretaries/aides/cooks/NBC’s/custodians; Pam Collins as cook/NBC/custodian; and Robert Moody, Charles Taylor and Phillip Sears as custodians/NBC’s.

   Among other action, the board:

–Approved overnight field trips for the EHS Band to attend Band Camp at West Liberty University and for the school FFA to attend FFA Camp in Carrollton;

–Approved an agreement with Franciscan University for clinical experiences for university students;

–Approved the treasurer’s report;

–Announced it will meet on Wednesdays over the next few months and sessions are set for July 17 and Aug. 21, both at 6 p.m. at EHS.

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