Westlake Schools have issued the following statement addressing current teacher negotiations:
“Unfortunately, there are some rumor and mistruths being circulated by the teachers’ union in connection with the current negotiations that the Westlake Board of Education must address and correct:
-The Westlake Schools operating budget is $50 million, and like most schools 80 percent of that is made up of salaries and benefits – 65 percent of that comprises teacher salaries and benefits.
- A $12 million reserve is only three months of operating costs. Having reserves is sound fiscal management and a best practice the City of Westlake also follows. It is a key reason we continue to earn perfect audits from the state. Further, those reserves will be gone by 2019.
- Our current forecast contains minimal increases budgeted, and our last best offer also included increases for teachers.
- The treasurer’s last pay increase was below 2 percent and was contractually provided back in August 2010. During the term of that contract, the treasurer agreed to reduce and freeze his salary two out of the five years.
- Due to changes in our administrative staffing, we are spending $56,018 less on administrative salaries this year. Further, no administrators received pay increases in 2014-15. The only administrative increases were due to changes in job classification or promotions and affected only five people.
- The discussion regarding placing a no-new-millage bond issue on the ballot to build new elementary schools will not increase taxes, but it will allow the district to address the needs of its aging elementary schools. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars making emergency Band-Aid repairs to our inefficient buildings. This has been discussed for over a year and we have sought significant input, including gathering multiple community committees to review materials and options.
- With a bond issue, we will be able to reduce the number of schools, thereby saving operating dollars. This will help us delay for a few more years the need to return to the community for an operating levy. The community has rejected three levy increases in the last few years.
“Our goal is to quickly come to a resolution with our teachers’ union so we can focus on our mission of educating Westlake’s children.”