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Status of Negotiations with Switzerland of Ohio Education Association

**FAQs below**

The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District Board of Education (“Board”) has offered its teaching employees a 15% base salary increase over a three (3) year contract.  The proposal would provide a 5% increase each year of the three (3) year contract.  This is all while keeping the teachers’ insurance plan exactly the same as it is now.  The Board currently pays 90% of the premiums for health care, with the teachers only paying the other 10%. 

“The Board made its salary offer to the SOEA because it wants to ensure that quality teachers come to and stay with our District,” said Board President Sarah Smith.  “We believe that this is about as generous of a salary offer as you will find in the State,” she added.

In addition to the large salary increase, the members of the SOEA are already contractually guaranteed to receive a portion of the District’s public utility personal property (“PUPP”) revenues, which last year amounted to approximately $1,900 for each teacher.

The Board’s last bargaining proposal to the SOEA included a number of proposed contract changes which would improve education for students.  Those include (1) restrictions on teachers using personal days for outside employment, to ensure that teachers’ primary focus is on their work in the classroom; (2) greater flexibility for the assignment of teachers to students based on their qualifications; and (3) increased compensation for coaching positions to encourage greater staff participation and involvement in student activities.

Despite the Board’s continued efforts to resolve the contract, the SOEA declared impasse on September 3, 2020.  

“The Board is serious about reaching a settlement with the SOEA that ensures a quality education for the District’s students,” said Smith.  “The latest proposal from the Board clearly reflects that.”

The Board and the SOEA are scheduled to next meet with a Federal Mediator on December 15, 2020.


The Switzerland of Ohio Local School District (“District”) Board of Education (“Board”) has received numerous questions regarding the status of its collective bargaining with the District’s teachers’ union, the Switzerland of Ohio Education Association (“SOEA”).  Answers to these questions are provided below.

Q:        The SOEA says its members have been working for 3 months without a contract.  Is that true?

A:        No.  Under Ohio law, when a collective bargaining agreement expires, the terms and conditions of the expired agreement remain in effect until a new agreement is reached.  In re West Carrollton City School Dist., SERB 86-026 (6-26-86).  Therefore, the union is currently working under the terms of the same contract that was in place last school year.  Teachers continue to receive the same fringe benefits and compensation, with step increases in their base salary for years of experience.  Thus, most teachers actually received a raise over what they were earning last school year.

Q:        Why are the negotiations taking so long?

A:        The Board does not know why the teachers’ union has refused the Board’s offer to increase teacher pay by 15% over the course of a three-year contract and keep their current insurance coverage in place.  The Board is also offering to allow the teachers to continue paying just 10% of their insurance premiums.  Instead, the teachers’ union has been demanding an increase in the base salary that is unprecedented for the District and likely unprecedented for any school district in the area.  Adding to the long duration of bargaining is the SOEA’s proposal to change multiple sections in the contract without providing any justifiable reason for doing so.  The Board has proposed contract changes which would increase the educational opportunities available to the District’s students.    

Q:        What is being done to reach an agreement? 

A:        The parties have obtained the assistance of a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help them reach an agreement.  The parties’ next scheduled meeting with the Mediator is December 15, 2020. 

Q:        When will an agreement be reached?

A:        Based on the generous proposal that the Board last made to the SOEA, the Board’s bargaining team had hoped that an agreement would have been reached by now.  Nonetheless, a final agreement will be reached when the teachers’ bargaining team decides it wants to end the negotiations and accept the offer the Board has proposed.  

Q:        What would happen if the SOEA members strike?  What is being done to avoid that?

A:        It is up to the SOEA’s members to choose to strike or not to strike.  It will be their decision to disrupt the education being provided to the students of the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District.  They will be disrupting an education that has already been impacted by COVID-19.  There is nothing the Board can do to avoid a strike if that is what the teachers choose to do.  The Board’s desire is to reach an agreement at the bargaining table, rather than put the community through a strike.