School Board Challenges Teachers to Go Public with Contract Offers
Union takes "vote of no confidence" in school leaders
The Strongsville School Board offered to make public its contract offer to teachers in a show of "transparency," hours after the teachers' union filed a 10-day strike notice.
School Board President David Frazee said both sides should post their offers on the school district's website to let the public see what teachers are seeking and what the board is offering.
"We're willing to do it," Frazee told a room full of teachers at a board meeting Thursday night. "But it sounds like the teachers aren't."
The challenge followed an hour of statements and questions from educators and parents, many lamenting that substitutes will be unable to offer quality education to students if teachers stop working March 4.
Some asked whether the district could find enough substitutes; others complained about the money the district is spending on an attorney to help with the negotiations.
Parent Helen Smith said the strike could seriously affect her daughter's scholarship chances if teachers aren't there to write letters of recommendation -- and teach her Advanced Placement calculus class.
"We are still in negotiations and it is my hope a strike can be averted," Superintendent John Krupinski said. "It is also our responsibility to be prepared."
Just before the meeting, the teachers gathered in the Strongsville High School auditorium for a press conference, where they took a vote of "no confidence" in the school board.
SEA President Tracy Linscott said the board is "trying to balance their books on the backs of their staff" and has presented a contract that would "slash" art, music and physical education in elementary schools and greatly increease class sizes.
The board has also "acted as if $3 million in concessions by the teachers (in the last contract) never happened," Linscott said.
At the subsequent school board meeting, SEA members said it is illegal to make the contract offers public, but board member Jennifer Sinisgalli said it is allowable if both sides agree to it.
Strongsville Patch will have more coverage, including video, of the School Board meeting and SEA press conference Friday.