Wapak Deal Could Be Close

WAPAKONETA — The Wapakoneta Education Association (WEA) and the Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education may be closer to reaching a contract agreement after a non-binding meeting Wed-nesday with the federal mediator overseeing their case.

“Informal discussion has led to a conceptual agreement that may lead to a resolution,” Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner said this morning.

He declined to comment further about the 3 1/2 hour meeting held at the mediator’s office in Dayton. Four representatives from each side attended.

Todd Crow, spokesman for the WEA, said this morning that nothing had yet been presented to them from the meeting but the teachers’ union is scheduled to meet tonight with plans to vote on information that is presented.

Wapakoneta City Board of Education members on Jan. 1 implemented its “last, best and final” offer with the WEA, with whom they had been negotiating since April. The 155 teachers in the union have been working under an expired contract since July.

The contract implemented this month freezes teachers’ base salaries and offers no automatic increases based on teacher education level or longevity. It also does not provide for future step increases and requires teachers to pay more for the cost of health insurance.

School administrators have said the contract was necessary because the school district lost $1.2 million in the school year ending June 30 and is expected to lose another $1.6 million at the end of this school year.

In December, members of the WEA voted to give their negotiating team the authority to issue a 10-day strike notice if they saw fit. To date, no such notice has been given.