School District, Teachers to Start New Contract Talks
Last time, negotiations took 9 months
The Strongsville School District is poised to start negotiations with the Strongsville Education Association for a new contract for teachers.
Assistant Superintendent John Krupinski said two groups are now scheduling the first meeting, "possibly as early as the beginning of next month."
Teachers will start the school year without a contract in place. The existing two-year pact -- accepted in March 2011 after a grueling nine months of negotiations -- expired June 30.
Krupinski said he cannot predict how the new round of talks will go.
"Sometimes it just happens," he said. "Other times, it takes longer."
The timing of a new contract could have an impact, though, on an $81 million bond issue on the Nov. 6 ballot. Krupinski acknowledged that some voters want to know the outcome of the contract talks before deciding whether to support the bond issue, which would be used to build a new middle school and make improvements at Strongsville High School and the elementary schools.
He said the thrust of the campaign for the issue will be to make sure voters know the difference between a levy and a bond issue.
"One of our goals is to clearly communicate that this goes to buildings, not to salaries and benefits," Krupinski said. "I think it's critical people know that."
In the last contract, finalized in March 2011, teachers accepted a salary freeze and agreed to eliminate step pay increases for the 2011-12 school year.
The deal saved the district about $2 million, officials said. It also called for teachers to take on extra duties during the school day and to contribute more to their health insurance costs.
The contract was retroactive to Aug. 1, 2010, and expired June 30, 2012.
Krupinski said the district typically negotiates two-year deals, but said there have also been one-year and three-year contracts.