Teachers' Strike Day 2: High School Gets Closer Look; Attendance Higher than Expected
Union says subs are failing, but administrators say situation is already getting better
The Strongsville Fire Department will visit Strongsville High School today to make sure overcrowded classrooms are not a hazard.
Fire Chief Jeff Branic said inspectors will check to make sure rooms are not over capacity and aisleways are clear after hearing concerns from parents and city officials.
"We'll go in and take a look to make sure the fire code is being met," Branic said. "We need to make sure the students are safe."
Among those worried were Councilman at Large Joe DeMio, who expressed his concerns to Mayor Tom Perciak Monday and again at a City Council meeting Monday night.
DeMio said he heard there were 60 students in classrooms designed for 25 because there were not enough substitute teachers at the high school.
He also said allowing some students to leave school at 10:30 Monday morning "is not acceptable to me, as a parent."
Conditions at High School 'Improved'
The Strongsville Education Association, the union representing the striking teachers, said in a statement released Monday night that "no actual teaching occurred" on Monday and a number of students reported watching SpongeBob cartoons during school.
"Students without seats in their classes were encouraged to sit on the floor or go to the auditorium, where students were reportedly out of control," the SEA release said.
Superintendent John Krupinski, however, in a statement Monday night, said that while the morning was difficult at the high school, things were better in the afternoon.
"We want the community to know that the conditions at the high school improved every hour. By the middle of the day, hallways were clear, students were in the classroom, and substitute teachers were teaching," Krupinski said.
The superintendent said more substitutes are being background-checked and hired every day.
"More are being processed and the number of substitute teachers will increase every day as we move forward," he said.
Attendance Higher Than Expected
Krupinski did not reveal specific numbers on Monday, but said the district had "an outstanding turnout of our student body," which "reflects the support and confidence our families have placed in our school district."
School Board President David Frazee said he heard the attendance rate at Strongsville High School was about 90 percent on Monday -- far higher than school officials had predicted.
"We were expecting about 50 percent, so we were pleasantly surprised," he said.
Frazee, too, said he expects the situation in the schools to improve in the days ahead because the district continues to hire new substitutes.
Regular attendance policies are in effect. The SEA has criticized that, saying enforcing a truancy policy is unfair.
The teachers also said they will not honor grades given by substitutes during the strike.
On Monday, the SEA voted on a formal resolution to that effect.
"In light of the Board’s egregious error in judgment to open school without a staff of qualified educators, the Strongsville Education Association unanimously passed a resolution on Sunday night to maintain the academic integrity of the district by disregarding any grades issued by so-called replacement teachers during the strike," the SEA's statement said.
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