CUYAHOGA FALLS — The members of the city school district’s teachers union will forgo a planned 1.5 percent increase in their base pay in the 2019-20 school year after the organization’s contract was extended by one year following an unusual chain of events.

Though the district’s other two unions — Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 111 (OAPSE), and Service Employees International Union, Local 1 (SEIU) — had also offered to forgo pay increases, their contracts were not extended. 

On Jan. 30, the Board of Education voted 2-2 on proposals to extend all three unions’ contracts by one year through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Board President Karen Schofield was absent. At that meeting, District Treasurer Barbara Donohue said the tie votes meant the motions had failed.

But since the teacher’s contract extension had been signed and the tie vote did not specifically reject it, the extension was deemed approved 30 days after the date it was signed, Dr. Todd Nichols, superintendent, said in a March 29 release. He cited a provision in state law that requires a legislative body take specific action to reject such signed tentative agreements.

Nichols said that he and Cuyahoga Falls Education Association President Melody Carlisle signed an extension agreement for the CFEA’s 344 members on Jan. 23, but the leaders of the district’s other employee unions did not request that he sign their agreements ahead of the vote.

"While the split decisions did not approve the extension agreements with SEIU, OAPSE, or CFEA, no action was taken to reject the [CFEA’s signed] tentative agreement," said Nichols in the release. "As a result, the tentative agreement with CFEA went into effect thirty days after signature, February 22, 2019."

Carlisle said she was "pleased" with the extension, adding "we would like the district to use this toward our financial recovery plan."

Since contract extensions were not approved for OAPSE or SEIU, the Board of Education will soon be entering into contract negotiations with the leaders of those unions, Nichols said.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.