The Westlake Board of Education has released the following statement on teacher negotiations. The statement was released after tonight’s BOE meeting:
“The Westlake Board of Education has been in contract negotiations with the Westlake Teacher’s Association (WTA) for one year. Due to recent statements by the WTA, we decided that an update to the community is necessary. While labor laws restrict what we are able to state or share in public, we can tell you this:
- It is our goal to remain fiscally responsible while protecting the educational quality that makes our community strong. After 3 failed levy attempts, we have all tightened our belts – administrators, teachers and classified staff all agreed to concessions impacting salary increases.
- The Westlake Schools operating budget is $50 million. Like most schools, 80% of that budget is comprised of salaries and benefits, with 65% of that being teacher salaries and benefits.
- Our $12 million reserve is only 3 months of operating costs and will be depleted by 2019. These reserves are critical in achieving the long-term financial plan established by the Board of Education. Having reserves is good fiscal management – a practice shared by the City of Westlake – and is one of the reasons we are recognized by the National rating agencies and the Ohio Auditor of State.
- We provided our last best and final offer to the teacher’s union April 29 that includes salary increases, along with some health care and personal day concessions. That offer is based on what we can afford as a school district.
- We urge all teachers to review the latest proposal, or at the very least, the summary page, so there is a clear understanding of our most recent offer.
- It is unfair to say we have not negotiated in good faith, and even the State Employees Relations Board provided evidence to that fact. We have provided multiple proposals in back-and-forth negotiations over the last year. Negotiations are not easy, but we have worked hard to be communicative, fair and fiscally responsible.
“After six separate proposals to the Westlake Teacher’s Association, it is now up to them to make a decision. We value our teachers, our families and all of our staff, and we have to balance the needs of our schools with the reality of our budget.”