LIBERTY CENTER — A new contract agreement with the Liberty Center Classroom Teachers’ Association (LCCTA) was approved by the Liberty Center Local Board of Education during a special meeting Friday morning.

In addition, the board approved a new administrative salary schedule, and a storm sewer easement agreement with the Village of Liberty Center.

A press release from the board of education outlined the new three-year agreement with the LCCTA, in which the association will receive a 3% increase on the base salary in the first year, and a 2.5% increase in years two and three.

The teachers will also receive a COVID learning recovery stipend of 2.5% of their 2021-22 salary, payable in November of this year.

The stipend will be paid for from federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds.

In years two and three of the contract, teachers will receive a one-time $500 stipend payable in November of each year.

There will be no change to the traditional health insurance plan, which will remain premiums paid at 90% by the district and 10% by the employee. However, teachers who choose to enroll in the high-deductible health plan will have their premiums paid by the board, up to $1,500 for a family plan and $600 for a single plan, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Teachers who chose the high-deductible health plan will also receive a health savings account (HSA) contribution from the board of $1,600 for a family plan, and $1,100 for a single plan each year of the contract.

The board released the following statement: “Through meaningful conversations throughout the negotiating process, both the teachers’ association and board teams were able to work through issues and reach consensus. This agreement allows us to move forward and continue the important work ahead, and that is educating our children with the standard of excellence that Liberty Center School is known to provide.”

Approved by the board was a new three-year administrative salary schedule, that included a change to one job title. Superintendent Richie Peters explained in June, Katie Jimenez was hired as director of student services, a role that replaced the director of special education.

Jimenez, who worked in the district the past four years as a curriculum consultant and gifted coordinator through the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center (NwOESC), now handles those duties, as well as special education duties (which is the reason for the update in the job description).

Jimenez also receives support through the NwOESC with special educational services at Liberty Center Local Schools and the Liberty Education Center.

Meanwhile, a storm sewer easement agreement with the village was approved by the board.

Liberty Center Mayor Jay Branson was in attendance at the July meeting to inform the board a possible new storm sewer line in the village may need to go through the south parking lot near Rex Lingruen Stadium. He discussed an easement to install the storm sewer there, if that was indeed the best route.

In July, Branson explained the work could take place in the summer of 2022, or be pushed back to the summer of 2023, depending on how it all unfolds. The work would take place in the summer as to not interfere with school traffic.

In the easement agreement approved Friday, the board voted to not build anything on top of the sewer line, however, the district can pave that lot (which is stone), after the storm sewer is installed.

“The village is applying for a grant that would provide funding for the new storm sewer line, and Mayor Branson asked the board in July for a verbal agreement so the village could get the ball rolling on their end,” said Peters. “Now with this formal agreement, what it does is give the village access to a small portion of our parking lot across the south end of Rex Lingruen Stadium.

“The easement will allow them to run the sewer line through there, so on our end, we agree to not put a permanent structure there,” continued Peters. “We can pave it, or put concrete there once it’s done, but we won’t do anything that will affect the project when it’s taking place, or once it’s completed.”

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