Strongsville Teachers Vote to Strike
Work stoppage starts at midnight
UPDATED 10 P.M.
The Strongsville Education Association has voted to go on strike at 12:01 a.m. March 4.
If there was any doubt the union would vote to go ahead with a threatened strike, that was all but erased Sunday morning as more than 100 teachers gathered outside the Strongsville police station Sunday morning to taunt substitutes going in to apply for jobs.
Superintendent John Krupinski said in a statement he is disappointed teachers have chosen to strike
"We believe we have done everything we could to avoid a teachers’ strike. It is the Strongsville Education Association’s (SEA) decision to go on strike. We will continue to negotiate in good faith during the strike. We have posted both the BOE and SEA proposed agreements online at www.strongnet.org/negotiationnews. The community will find the BOE agreement to be fair to our teachers and affordable to our district," Krupinski said.
The SEA, which represents 383 teachers, guidance counselors and psychologists, met at 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville to take a strike vote.
In a statement released afterward, the SEA said that while teachers were ready to offer concessions during a negotiating session Saturday, the School Board abruptly ended the talks by presenting a last best offer.
“We have always been willing to negotiate and to make concessions to reach the fair and equitable contract that our members deserve; however, the Board has shown a callous disregard for its teachers, its students, and its community by refusing to negotiate any longer and attempting to impose a contract that will ultimately hurt our kids,” Christine Canning, SEA spokeswoman, said.
The eight-hour negotiating session on Saturday failed to bring the two sides to an agreement. Teachers have been working without a contract since July.
"While we had hoped it would not be necessary to leave our classrooms, the reckless and irrational actions of the Board have left us with no choice to strike for our very survival,” Canning said in the statement.
Buses are expected to run their regular routes on Monday, and school will be held during normal hours.
Police Chief James Kobak said he will station one officer at each school this week as added security.
Strongsville police and private, unarmed security officers are expected to also monitor school driveways so picketing teachers don't block buses, parents and substitutes from entering.
Extracurricular activities and sports will be suspended for the first week of the strike, and maybe longer.
And elective classes like art and music will not be taught at first, with substitutes focusing on what School Board President David Frazee called "meat and potatoes" courses like English, math and social studies.
Work done by students during the strike will count toward their graduation requirements, although teachers said Saturday that when they return, they will not honor grades given by the classroom replacements.
The school district has posted a Question and Answer page on its website to address some of the most common concerns.
The district has also posted both the School Board's proposal to teachers and the SEA's proposal.
There were a number of sticking points, but the biggest financial difference is that the School Board sought to eliminate annual step increases in teachers' pay, while the SEA wanted to not only keep the steps, but to also erase the effects of a freeze two years ago by allowing teachers to jump two steps.