Teachers' Strike News: Board Meeting Canceled; Spring Sports Resume
Strongsville teachers' strike is in its third week
The Strongsville School Board has canceled it regular monthly meeting for Thursday, March 21 due to the ongoing teachers' strike.
Board President David Frazee said it is common for school districts to cancel meetings during strikes.
"It's difficult to have a meeting when the previous ones have been so disruptive," Frazee said.
At the last three school board meetings -- all before the strike started March 4 -- teachers have shown up by the hundreds. At a Feb. 7 meeting, the teachers chanted loudly outside the door of the meeting room and outside the Administration Building.
The district filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Strongsville Education Association, which represents the 383 striking employees, after teachers reportedly disrupted a February negotiating session by chanting, then tried to block the district's negotiating team from going to their cars.
The SEA said in a news release that canceling the meeting -- after also canceling a work session March 7 -- puts the district in violation of Ohio's open meeting laws, unless another meeting is held before March 31.
The move is an effort "to insulate board members from the public backlash" over the strike, the SEA said.
Frazee said the district's lawyer is checking into whether the School Board would violate any laws by not meeting in March.
Spring Sports Return
Strongsville High School athletes started practice on Tuesday and will begin the season March 30.
Athletics and other extracurriculars have been canceled due to the strike.
Krupinski said that "although our student athletes have missed some practice time, they will have nearly two weeks to prepare for the regular season."
Baseball and softball practice was supposed to start March 4, and tennis and track practices should have begun March 11.
The district has appointed coaches and volunteers who are not part of the SEA.
“Non-SEA contracted coaches and approved volunteers are overseeing spring sports,” Krupinski said in a statement. “The necessary certifications for coaches and background checks have been completed.”
Middle school track is still on hold.
Trips May Be Off
The school district is no longer sponsoring two trips Strongsville High School students planned in March -- a Community Service trip to Azul, Honduras March 22-29 and a String and Freshman Orchestras trip to Chicago March 23-23 for a performance.
Krupinski said the trips were approved by the School Board with the understanding teachers would chaperone.
"We can't support a trip that isn't appropriately supervised," he said.
However, he said parents can still step forward and take over the trips, similar to what happened when eighth-grade trips to Washington DC were cut by the district for financial reasons in 2011.
“Families that decide to arrange their own itineraries to either of these locations should continue in keeping with guidelines for excused student absences, however Strongsville City Schools can no longer assume any responsibility and liability associated with these trips,” Krupinski said in a statement.
For other stories on the teachers' strike, click here.
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