The Columbus School Board voted to approve a three-year teacher contract with the Columbus Education Association during a hearing Monday.
School board members unanimously approved the agreement, securing an annual 3% raise for district staffers. Superintendent Talisa Dixon endorsed the plan.
“This is a win-win-win for students, our teachers and administration, and our community,” Dixon told the board. “That’s why I’m recommending to the board that we approve the three-year contract this morning.”
School board president Gary Baker emphasized the new contract's role in helping Dixon meet student achievement goals.
"Many of the contract provisions will enable the district to recruit and retain the best teachers and education professionals which in turn will have a direct impact on student academic achievement," Baker said. “That's exactly what the board wanted and it's what our families and community wanted."
The deal also caps class sizes for kindergarten through third grade, hires 60 additional support staffers like nurses or counselors, and establishes an alternative discipline program to avoid suspensions.
But the agreement doesn’t address property tax abatements—which cut into the district’s available cash. Corporate tax breaks were a rallying cry for union members throughout negotiations this summer.
In a statement released after CEA membership ratified the agreement Sunday night, union president Jon Coneglio said that fight hasn’t been forgotten.
“The fact that this school board was unwilling to tackle this issue at the bargaining table does not mean that the issue goes away, simply that we will work alongside our allies in the political arena and other venues to hold our elected officials accountable,” Coneglio wrote. “It is our duty to ensure that politicians put the needs of our students ahead of corporate welfare for the wealthiest.”