Teachers in Butler County’s Ross Schools have approved a new labor contract but only until the end of this school year. Ross district officials said the contract, which had been negotiated with the help of a federal mediator, will allow the district to launch a new set of talks early in 2020 to create a longer labor contract with its instructors. (File Photo/Journal-News)

Ross teachers, district agree to new labor contract for this school year

A tentative agreement was created after contract talks Friday, and earlier this week teachers in the rural Butler County school system voted to approve the new contract that will be in effect for the remainder of the current school year.

MORE: Ross Schools continue contract talks with teachers

The new labor pact is simply a bridge, said both school officials and teacher union representatives, to move on to another set of negotiations, which will begin in early 2020, for a possible three-year contract.

Ross Education Association President Robin Plowman said “the 174 teachers approved the contract in order to move forward.”

“While the agreement closed out a three-year contract, the agreement keeps Ross teachers in the bottom third of (pay among other Butler County districts),” said Plowman. “The teachers considered the students and parents of this community in accepting the agreement.”

Ross Schools released a statement saying teachers “ratified a 2 percent base salary increase and one-time $500 stipend for its 174 members.”

“This negotiation was just a salary re-opener for the current school year,” officials said. “The current full collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of his school year.”

Scott Gates, superintendent of Ross Schools, said “we appreciate the REA’s willingness to work with us through this process, and we look forward to continued collaboration with them on our next negotiations in 2020.”

In the last decade Ross Schools has consistently been one of Butler County’s top academic performers. On the most recent Ohio Department of Education annual report card on public school systems, Ross earned an overall grade of “B” for the second consecutive year since the department began to compile overall grades two years ago.

“Our teaching staff works tirelessly for our students, and our district’s successful track record of being a top performing school in Butler County is because of those efforts,” Gates said.

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