Mechanicsburg schools, union approve contract

One-year labor deal covers bus drivers, custodians, aides.

The contract includes a wage and step-increase freeze among its concessions, Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger said.

The Ohio Association of Public School Employees union is relatively new in the district. It is the first time they have renegotiated a contract.

The union represents about 30 employees including bus drivers, custodians and administrative assistants.

Union members know the district is facing a tight budget, said Mandee Warfield, president of the union and an elementary secretary for the district. Several staff members, including crossing guards, lunch room aides and others, were already laid off earlier this year because of tight budgets.

“When you have no money, there wasn’t a whole lot we could bargain and ask for,” Warfield said.

Teachers in the district have made the same concessions, Warfield said.

The one-year agreement will allow the district to negotiate new contracts for both its teachers and classified unions in the same time frame. Doing so will allow the district to have a better understanding of its finances compared to negotiating them at different times.

“I’ve always liked to have those negotiations at the same time,” Kaffenbarger said.

New negotiations with both unions will likely begin next spring, he said.

Negotiations with the district were fair on both sides, Warfield said, and the union hopes finances improve for future contracts.

“When you go into public school service, it’s for the kids and that’s why we’re here,” she said.

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0355 or msanctis@coxohio.com

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