STOW — Members of the Stow Teachers Association will start the next school year with a previously negotiated 2% pay raise and some employees will be working under newly negotiated changes to pay rate calculations for extended service days.

District Treasurer Trevor Gummere emphasized the 2% compensation increase for the STA’s 350 members in 2020-21 was negotiated in 2016 and was in the district’s financial forecast in October 2019. He added the pay hike will cost the district an additional $780,000 in the 2020-21 school year.

The upcoming school year is the final year of the STA’s contract, which expires June 30, 2021.

The board of education on April 30 signed off on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the STA that changes the formula for calculating pay rates for employees who are eligible for extended service pay in the 2020-21 school year. Gummere emphasized that this change in extended service pay calculation is unrelated to the 2% pay raise that all STA members are receiving.

District employees work "extended service" days when they are "requested to work past their regular contracted days," said Gummere. He added the changes made through the MOU should save the district "roughly $30,000 per year."

Under the adopted MOU, the following job titles on the extended time roster are eligible to be paid for extended service days at the employee’s per diem rate instead of using a set ratio multiplied by the employee’s placement on the salary schedule: content specialist; resident educator coordinator; CTE coordinator; assistant band director; scheduling coordinator; gifted coordinator; speech language pathologist; library media specialist; school counselor (K-8); band director; TWE coordinator; school counselor (high school); and school psychologist.

"The change was made to reduce costs to the district and reflect how most other public schools pay extended days," explained Gummere.

The MOU also reduced the number of allowed extended service days for some of those positions.

"The number of extended days allotted for persons on the extended service roster hadn’t been updated in some time to reflect current workload expectations," said Selena Cottrell, president of the Stow Teachers Association. "In an effort to preserve current services, the STA worked with extended day personnel to ensure assigned tasks could be completed in the time allotted on the updated roster."

Cottrell said CTE coordinator and scheduling coordinator (high school) were added to the list of employees who are eligible to be paid for extended service days. She said while those job titles are "’new’ to the extended time roster in the MOU, this was work that was already being done by our school counselors. We simply updated the roster to reflect that work."

Cottrell said these changes were not done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gummere noted the overall number of extended service days available to STA members did not increase.

According to the MOU, more extended service days may be added with approval from the superintendent. Extended service days may also be reduced through a mutual agreement between the superintendent and the STA president. The superintendent or his designee, and the STA president will meet annually to prepare the extended service roster for the next school year.

"The STA has been and will continue to be a partner with the district to provide the best educational experience for our students," stated Cottrell.

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