Strongsville teachers to receive 1.5 percent salary increases under one-year contract extension

February 26, 2019

Strongsville teachers to receive 1.5 percent salary increases under one-year contract extension

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Strongsville teachers will receive 1.5 percent salary increases this summer, even as the district cuts $1.1 million from its operating budget and asks voters to approve a tax increase in May.

The raises are part of a one-year contract extension for teachers that the school board unanimously approved Feb. 21. The contract extension becomes effective Aug. 1 and will end July 31, 2020.

As of Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 26), district officials were unable to say how much the pay raises would cost the district or provide a list of teacher salaries. The district also hadn’t responded when asked how much teachers pay toward their healthcare premiums.

At the Feb. 21 board meeting, Superintendent Cameron Ryba said new contract negotiations with teachers had been scheduled to start this month. The existing three-year contract, which ends July 31, gave teachers 1.5 percent increases in 2016 and 2017 and 1 percent increases in 2018.

Ryba said the district and teachers, faced with potentially $9.5 million in budget cuts over the next two years, agreed to delay talks for a new multiple-year contract.

At the same time, the district wanted to retain its teachers, whom Ryba called “phenomenal,” so it must remain wage-competitive to stabilize its teaching staff, he said.

“We have outstanding teachers in our district, and with an uncertain financial future, it is imperative that we keep them teaching in Strongsville,” Ryba said in a press release.

Ryba said the 1.5 percent rate is less than the cost-of-living increase for February, although he didn’t provide a source for that information.

The district wanted to be “transparent” with Strongsville residents and announce the 1.5 percent increases before the May 7 election, when they will vote on a 5.9-mill school levy that would increase their taxes, Ryba said.

Ryba said that at his state-of-the-schools presentation, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow (Feb. 27) at Strongsville Middle School, he will show how teacher compensation in Strongsville compares to pay rates in other school districts, and why a 1.5 percent increase is fair.

In early 2017, North Royalton teachers agreed to forgo raises for one year to demonstrate support for a 4.4-mill bond issue and .5-mill levy on the May 2017 ballot.

After voters approved the bond issue and levy, in June 2018, North Royalton teachers signed a new three-year contract that gave them 2 percent annual increases each year. The pay raises added about $500,000 to the North Royalton schools’ annual $50 million operating budget.