Westlake Schools: “We Must Curb Our Deficit Spending”

The Westlake Board of Education reports that its adoption of a Last Best Offer to teachers last week is an effort to curb the district’s deficit spending.

The Westlake Board of Education voted June 13 to implement the “last best offer” made to the teachers union. DSC_2028-6

According to Westlake Schools, “Our last best offer included an average 2.5% increase for this year (2015-2016), a lump sum increase of 1.5% in the upcoming year, and a 2.5% increase for all teachers in the 2017-2018 school year.”

“In contrast,” say the schools. “the teachers union wants an average 2.5% “step” increase in all 3 years, PLUS an additional 2.5% raise in year two, which amounts to a total of more than 5% raise in one year, guaranteed.”

“After more than a year of negotiations with multiple proposals and options going back and forth, we have come to an ultimate impasse,” report Westlake Schools.  “In that full year, the teachers union did not present us with a viable option, considering our financial reality.  After 3 failed levies, we must curb our deficit spending.
“Current financial forecasts show us going into the negative in 2019. That forecast is very conservative and represents “worst case scenarios” because that is what sound financial planners do.  And it is true that it assumes increases for teachers- but it also continues spending more than we bring in.”
“Here are the facts about where we are right now,” say Westlake Schools:
“Our last best offer when inserted into the financial projections, would stop deficit spending and extend the amount of time that we would have to return to taxpayers for a levy.  It includes raises EVERY year for teachers.
“The union’s counterproposal exceeds the amount of spending we have projected by $1million (28%) which not only continues deficit spending, but accelerates it. Under their proposal, we would have to be on the ballot in 2 years with an operating levy.
“Our last best offer included an average 2.5% increase for this year (2015-2016), a lump sum increase of 1.5% in the upcoming year, and a 2.5% increase for all teachers in the 2017-2018 school year.
“In contrast, the teachers union wants an average 2.5% “step” increase in all 3 years, PLUS an additional 2.5% raise in year two, which amounts to a total of more than 5% raise in one year, guaranteed.
“Teachers now pay $160 per month for family coverage for health insurance which is less than half of what the average Ohioan pays.   Their healthcare premiums would decrease under our latest proposal, due to plan adjustments.”
Here is a link to the Westlake Schools web page on negotiations: http://www.westlake.k12.oh.us/negotiations/Pages/default.aspx
The Westlake Teachers Association website reports that “WTA members are currently working on updates and FAQ sheets to keep you informed on our current contract situation.  Stay Tuned.” Here is the link to their website: http://westlaketa.ohea.us/

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