Nick McWilliams reporting – A handful of Starlight School employees will see pay increases as part of a renewed union agreement.

Superintendent Nate Kambam relayed the details of the new agreement to commissioners on Wednesday.

According to Kambam, higher wages were agreed upon between the school and union in order to attract higher employee retention.

“We knew that in serving kids with more intensive needs, we need that continuity and we need that professional expertise. So, we were able to right-size wages to be competitive with our local districts. We were able to bring back some staff, who had left us who we really enjoyed, to come back and to lead this new program.”

Around 20 employees fall under the new agreement, who will see three percent wage increases each of the next three years.

By ensuring employees are more likely to stay with better wages, Kambam says that TuscBDD hopes to see more students with special needs staying closer to home for education.

“Really, our whole dream is to these kids in Tuscarawas County. Sometimes the cases would become so severe they’d be going to school in Columbus or Akron or Canton, which is a huge expense. So we’re really seeking to build that infrastructure and that support. So that some of our most vulnerable kids don’t have to be transported 45 minutes, two hours.”

Commissioners do not have any hand in negotiations or any parts of the contract, and are simply required to approve the notion to ensure the proper funds are available.

The contract was accepted as presented.

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