Teacher contract finalized by JAEA and school board


Jackson McCoy

Dr. Miller speaks with board members Christine Blacka and Steve Votaw at the September board meeting.

Jackson McCoy, Staff Writer, Editor-in-Chief

On October 26th, the school board formally approved the new Jonathan Alder Education Association contract, which was approved by 73 percent of the union. This concludes the negotiations between the board and the JAEA that has recently enveloped the community and school staff alike.

“I think it’s a relief [to have a contract],” Mandy Craig, a teacher at Plain City Elementary School and JAEA negotiation representative, says. “But we’re teachers, we’ve continued to do what we’ve been doing, contract or not.”

Jonathan Alder superintendent Dr. James Miller acknowledged the hard work of both teachers and board members through the whole negotiation process.

As it was Dr. Miller’s first year in the district and he joined the district after the negotiations took place, he had to “have a careful balance of supporting the board and supporting the teachers,” throughout the negotiations. 

“Coming in as a new superintendent in July, I felt that there was some distance between where the school board was and where the teachers were with the contract,” Dr. Miller says. “So getting to an agreement where both the board of education and teacher association agree with the terms of the contract is an outstanding accomplishment and I’m glad that both are agreeing to the terms.”

Craig also noted that there was a large amount of progress made, saying “When the school board and Dr. Miller reached out to us again to come back to the table, and when we met [on October 18th], it was a completely different feeling in the room. They listened, they asked questions, and we were able to work together and come up with a solution that our members approved.”

The contract approved provides a number of new benefits for teachers. “There is something in it for everyone,” Craig says. “We got a master’s plus 30 column added, and the annual percentage raises made it a good contract.” 

The master’s plus 30 column means that teachers who have 30 graduate hours after their master’s degree will earn more money according to the pay scale, and the annual percentage increase applies to all certified staff. Having this new column is in line with other districts in central Ohio.

While the contract negotiations may have been a very contentious process, administrators and teachers were able to take positive lessons from the experience. 

“I thought it was a great opportunity to build relationships with the teachers and the board,” Dr. Miller says. “It’s going to be all positive results moving forward for the district. [There will be a] great working relationship between the school board and the teachers.”

Crag agreed, saying, “I hope that, moving forward, and knowing the community support, that we can work together to continue to communicate, and build relationships that continue to come out in appropriate contracts.”