Bycroft board, union reach agreement

LISBON – Robert Bycroft Education Association members and the county Board of Developmental Disability have come to a contract agreement.

On Wednesday night the BDD ratified the contract, which was reportedly approved by the RBEA on Tuesday.

“It was a longer process than before,” said BDD Superintendent Bill Devon. “I think both sides are just glad it’s over.”

The RBEA did not issue a statement during the meeting, even though the agenda had a time for them to make comments before the board.

The board also approved the abolishment of the early intervention instructor assistant position at the Robert Bycroft School, which Devon reported was agreed to during contract negotiations with the RBEA.

While there will be no increase in the base pay scale, Devon reported those in the RBEA union will receive raises of 2 percent, 1.75 percent and 1.75 percent, respectively, over the next three years. Additionally, RBEA members will be expected to pick up 10 percent of their health insurance premiums.

The union covers the teachers at the school and their assistants, two nurses, an early intervention specialist and two speech pathologist – about 28 people in total. Negotiations began last June and the most recent contract ended in August. The school year began without one. A federal mediator was utilized starting in November in an effort to help create a contract acceptable to both sides.

Devon said a contract was created in January, but not approved until this week. Members of the RBEA voted the first contract offer down only a few weeks ago.

During Wednesday’s meeting, not only was the early intervention specialist position abolished, but Devon reported to the board the two nurses at Robert Bycroft have resigned effective the end of the school year. The one is for retirement purposes.

Devon asked the board to create a new nurse manager position, noting with the two resignations he may have to restructure some things. While he will not be hiring the new position immediately, the person will be a registered nurse, he said. He said with waiver requirements, the BDD needs someone on their staff who can diagnose clients requesting waivers to make certain they qualify for the care requested.

The nurse manager position pay scale will start at $41,991 with the highest rate possible at $61,188.

The nursing position was created by the board, as was a new technology manager coordinator position. Devon said the position was necessitated by the numerous online reports the BDD is required to file. Last year, a part-time person handled the duties and it cost to BDD $52,000, according to Devon. The new person will be full-time with the pay scale starting at $37,192 and topping out at $51,589.

Devon explained to the board he checked with other counties the size of theirs and found most counties the size of Columbiana County have at least one full-time person and in many cases two handling the duties of the technology manager coordinator.