No progress was made between Fairborn City Schools and two unions Thursday during contract negotiations, and according to one union leader, there aren’t any more labor talks scheduled.
Jeff Whited, president of the Fairborn Classified Employees Association, said there was “backward movement” on insurance issues, specifically the proposal to increase co-payments. But the FCEA isn’t discouraged and it’s looking forward to the next round of talks, he said.
In late June, the school board canceled three union contracts to control costs by preventing any automatic pay and fringe benefits increases, which led to union officials questioning the legality of the move. The school board passed resolutions to not continue to be bound by the terms of the district’s collective bargaining agreements after they expired on June 30.
Canceling the contracts, which district officials said will save “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” impacted about 500 employees in the FCEA, Fairborn Education Association and Dayton Public Service Union.
“We’re ready to go back to the bargaining table,” Whited said. “We actually as a group don’t bargain at all. It’s them handing us something, saying, ‘This is it. Take it leave or it.’ … The offer was worse than the last one we received.”
Fairborn Superintendent Dave Scarberry and treasurer Eric Beavers were out of the office and unavailable for comment. Tess Little, school board president, declined to comment because she was not involved in the negotiations and had not yet received an updated report.
Ed Gibbons, the district’s director of business affairs and classified personnel, did not return a message seeking comment.
The first day for teachers is Aug. 19 and students return Aug. 21. The district and unions have been in negotiations since May.
Whited is “cautiously optimistic” an agreement can be reached before the start of school, and the possibility of going on strike has not been discussed.
“We are going on with business as usual,” he said. “The FEA and FCEA are on board trying to get this done because we’re concerned not only about the kids, but we’re concerned about the morale of everybody.”
Mandy Creekmur, president of the FEA, did not return a message seeking comment. The FEA and FCEA have agreed to pay freezes, increasing class sizes and adjusting insurance coverage to lower the cost for the district, Creekmur has said.
With Fairborn projected to see an increase in state funding, Whited said the unions thought it would open up more communication between the two parties. The district is projected to receive an additional $1.02 million during the upcoming school year and an additional $1.53 million in fiscal year 2015 from the state.