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300 Strongsville Teachers Swarm School Board Meeting: Updated

Union sends an apparent message of solidarity, expresses frustration over contract talks

 

An estimated 300 Strongsville teachers made an organized appearance at a School Board meeting Thursday night to send an apparent message of solidarity in the midst of contract talks.

None spoke during the meeting, and all of the teachers approached afterward refused to answer any questions.

The group gathered in the parking lot at Strongsville High School and waited until the board meeting had been under way for about five minutes, then entered in a long line.

They stood in the back of the meeting room for about 20 minutes, then filed out around 7:25 p.m., five minutes before the meeting ended.

The school board continued its regular business without interruption.

Tracy Linscott, president of the Strongsville Education Association, said in an email that the teachers attended the meeting "in order to demonstrate our frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations."

Superintendent John Krupinski said after the meeting the district has had about four meetings with the teachers' union since the school year started.

"I think the last meeting we had (Jan. 9) was productive," Krupinski said. "We had a very positive meeting."

More contract talks are slated for this month -- tentatively Jan. 28 -- and in February, he said.

The last round of teacher contract negotiations lasted nine months and ended with a two-year deal that included a salary freeze and no step pay increases for the 2011-12 school year.

That deal, finalized in March 2011, 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.

During those talks, teachers made at least one similar organized appearance at a meeting.

Krupinski said the district is now in a better financial situation in some ways, but is still facing fiscal uncertainty.

"We're certainly not rich," he said. "We do have deficits (projected) in outlying years."

The district made significant budget reductions in 2011, but voter approval of a 6-mill renewal levy in March 2012 thwarted deeper cuts to busing, athletics and other programs.

The district has been able to stop taking cash advances to meet its monthly expenses.

But Krupinski said revenue is still declining and the impact of the state's new funding formula is unknown.

He called contract negotiations "a process" and indicated the show of solidarity would not impact the administration's position on the talks in either direction.

"They (teachers) have every right to come to an open meeting," he said.

Chapman Mom January 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Holly you sound like you are standing on your throne looking down on 87% of the little people who are of lesser worth than you
lyn January 27, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Holly- Its going to take more than that to convince me that the average teacher salary for 9 months should be more than what one entire households income is for an entire year, and, again, not even counting their highly subsidized benefits.
Holly Lamovsky January 27, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I'm not looking down on others or assuming they are of lesser worth - just referencing the relationship between educational attainment and median income. Countless studies show that as education level goes up, so does income. This is true across the board, regardless of profession. I am speaking of economic worth only. I am not suggesting anything about character or importance. Many of the people that have been most valuable to my life are in that 63%.
lyn January 28, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Holly- Maybe you should explain to us what degrees are REQUIRED, AFTER they are hired. This might help us have a better understanding. There is too much general talk about further education required and advanced degrees needed. I'm asking about what is required AFTER they are hired because we all have to come into our jobs with certain prerequisites and educational minimums - be it nurses, accountants, lawyers, physical therapists,.. Some need more than 4 year college, some more than a masters. So, what is REQUIRED after you are hired - what degree(s). NOT what continuing education type course or classes, because so many jobs, even those not requiring a college degree, require yearly classes. But what advanced degrees are required. Please don't include when a teacher wants to get a degree so they will be able to perform some other duties or teach other classes, or so they can "beef up" their resume so their pay will be higher. I say this because I personally know teachers who have furthered their education so their pay will be higher. Again, just tell us what the minimum required degree(s) a teacher must obtain after they are hired.
Holly Lamovsky January 28, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Prior to 2011 a Masters degree was required in order to renew your license after the first 7 years of teaching. This has now been changed to 6 credit hours or the equivalent professional development units each time you renew. I am aware that many jobs require professional development, but they are usually paid for by the employer. This is not the case in education which is why the salary goes up to help offset the cost to the teachers of this. Education is an investment for anyone and it is not unreasonable to expect a return on that investment.
lyn January 28, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Holly- What profession or company do you know that pays for continuing education? People I know that are in the 4 professions I mentioned, all have to pay themselves - as do even hairdressers. And, this was something I have had to pay for to maintain my license - never picked up by any employer. I'm surprised that someone feels they deserve a salary bump for maintaining their license, part of their own professional resume. Frankly, I thought you were going to offer an impressive list of degrees that a teacher is required to have. I knew I was asking a question not knowing what the answer would be, yet now I'm really surprised that teachers use this "further education" as a reason for more salary and benefits. IMO, what teachers need, is nothing more than so many other peoples requirements in the private sector - and they DO pay for their own. Some may be fortunate to be reimbursed, but I have yet to meet anyone that lucky enough. I'm sure its considered in their salary, though.
lyn January 28, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Holly- I forgot- Thank you for answering my question so honestly.
Holly Lamovsky January 28, 2013 at 02:48 AM
I will speak from personal experience here. When I first began teaching, a few years into my career I was bumped out of my position (reduction in force) and ended up taking a job not in teaching, but for a hotel company. I began the job at an entry level position. I was approached and asked to train for a higher position. I accepted and they paid for my training. The same scenario happened a couple more times and within a year and a half I was making more money than I had made teaching. All my training had been paid for by the company. I reached the top position I could without needing a business degree and was asked to pursue this. There was a tuition reimbursement program and I could have taken advantage of it and got another degree for practically free and then been promoted to an even higher paying position upon its completion. These scenarios DO happen. In the end, I went back to teaching as I felt I had a more positive impact on the world there and didn't want a job that required so much travel knowing that eventually I would start a family. Moral of the story, every job has its advantages and disadvantages. We get to choose our jobs though and in choosing them we accept those advantages and disadvantages. You should not begrudge others because they chose a job that offers better pay, hours, benefits, etc than yours may. If you are unhappy with aspects of your job, you have the choice to leave it and find a better one.
T Jefferson January 28, 2013 at 02:53 AM
Has anyone heard anything about the ongoing negotiations since they have started? Linscott, president of the SEA, said the teachers attended the meeting "in order to demonstrate our frustration with the LACK OF PROGRESS in negotiations." Krupinski said the district has had about 4 meetings with the teachers' union since the school year started. "I think the last meeting we had was productive," and "We had a very positive meeting." >>> So are we to believe that in all that time they have only met face to face 4 times! Keep in mind; the teacher’s last contract expired June 30, 2012, which was 7 months ago! What are these negotiators doing, twiddling their thumbs? They say that these proceedings are confidential and cannot disclose what is being discussed. I say bull. There are other districts around the area that kept the public informed about the proceedings and the negotiations via their Web sites. I would like to know what are the discussion points on both sides of the fence and what are the issues, potential stumbling blocks, etc.. Tell me what is going on in more detail – FACTS! Is the elimination of pension pickups and teachers paying more for their medical insurance on the BOE side of the table? (If it isn’t it should be.) How much of a raise is the union asking for this time? What other perks and benefits on sitting on their side of the table?
T Jefferson January 28, 2013 at 02:56 AM
As a taxpayer, paying $6,354.70 of my $11K real estate taxes to “Schools” every year, I would like to know a little more about what is going on besides “we had a positive meeting and that it was productive”. If you look at your latest Real Estate Taxes for 2012 you will see that Schools get 57.77% of this total. As a suggestion people of BOE, how about putting the results of the negotiations on the school Web site? How about a little more visibility, disclosure and transparency?
Mateo January 28, 2013 at 03:24 AM
You folks makes me sick. I am not a teacher, only a father. My child, his education and his future is priceless. I have no problem with my sons teacher making $80,000 for 9 months of work as you put it. I'm pretty sure teachers need degrees and continuing education. That takes time and money. Lets not forget the old saying, "our children are our future." Let's invest in them through their teachers. Finally, if you're jealous, get off the CPU, get your education degree and find a teaching job. Quit hating.
Holly Lamovsky January 28, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Lyn, also since you referenced hairdressers, I am sure you know that many salons have different levels of stylists at different price points. One can become a master stylist and earn more money per appointment as a pay off for their additional training. Getting paid more for more training and experience is hardly limited to teaching.
James Murphy January 28, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Mateo Joined Strongsville Patch 10:16 pm on Tuesday, January 27, 2013 <first post>
James Murphy January 28, 2013 at 03:51 AM
Holly after reading your latest batch of posts, it is actually a shame you are NOT a Strongsville School teacher, Our school kids would have benefited from someone so well versed (I mean that as a compliment )
Brian January 28, 2013 at 12:49 PM
I think everyone needs to read this: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1978#comic
Holly Lamovsky January 28, 2013 at 03:30 PM
James - I actually WAS a Strongsville teacher my very first year out of college many years ago. I was laid off because I was the low man on the totem pole (now that is a problem with the way things are done in schools) and that is when I began my career in Berea. I will not for a second make the claim that the taxpayers are getting their money's worth out of every teacher, but I know they are getting their money's worth with me. I feel a great sense of responsibility to my students and my community which is why I hate all the generalizations made about teachers.
Jean Williams January 28, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Holly two thing you wrote really stand out I was laid off because I was the low man on the totem pole (now that is a problem with the way things are done in schools) I will not for a second make the claim that the taxpayers are getting their money's worth out of every teacher those two items are exactly the problem there are strongsville teachers that still use the same teaching techniques for the last 20 years that should have retired years ago, and others who do not possess even the most basic computer skills to answer let alone even open up a E-mail. and there continue to they hide, some of the highest teachers in the district with THEIR hand out yet again going GIMMIE, so the anger is not directed to teachers like you holly it is directed at those teachers who you even admit exist, those who bolt out of school as soon as the buses are gone, BUT Holly in a union them- becomes- we- becomes- us- becomes- you all
Holly Lamovsky January 28, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Jean, I certainly don't disagree with you that those kind of teachers need to go. I am not sure about Strongsville, but I know that in my district there is a way to get rid of those people, and I would assume Strongsville has the same. From my experience though, this does not apply to the vast majority of teachers. Most of the people I work with are hard-working, competent, and dedicated. A few are not. Unions don't necessarily protect these people, but they do set up a process that many administrators feel too cumbersome to follow (they also have full plates) if they want to get rid of someone. How the union helps a teacher like me is by giving me a formal voice as to my working conditions. That is important to me as I want to do a good job but couldn't if my classes had 50 kids in them or if I had to teach 8 different lessons a day. I would love to see seniority go - not being able to master e-mail these days in any job is unacceptable.
Kim L January 28, 2013 at 08:16 PM
at my sons first week at high school they had the parents go from class to class in which the teachers went over what was expected, they gave their email addresses and web sites to help out, until we went to his english teacher she very proudly boasted that she owned no computer and her school issued email address has never been set up, we were to call the school and leave her a message if there was any questions, he said it was the easiest class he ever had and you (union) think we should keep rewarding this teacher by continuing to pick up her pension and health care costs, pay increases, step increases and whatever else while the average paycheck has declined and family healthcare costs have gone up nationwide
Jean Harrison February 06, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Teachers are way underpaid. They put many years into their own education, work very hard, and care about the students. They deserve not $80,000, but easily duoble or triple that. We should pass more school levies to bring teachers' pay to $250,000 to be closer to what family doctors are making. Think about it: It's your kids' education, don't you want the best to teach your kids!!
Kim L February 06, 2013 at 08:05 PM
250,000 is what you want to pay teachers, what a grand statement to make on your very first comment on the Strongsville patch
Buster Chops February 11, 2013 at 09:40 PM
Seems to me that lyn is quite an easy dupe. With regard to her frequent rants, it is interesting to see how she twists language and inserts assumptions. This is something that we more educated people can see as logical fallacies. lyn (sic) Even though a logic course won't help you to learn to use the shift key to create a capital at the start of a proper noun, it would help you to get out of the deadly death spin you have put yourself into. Quit whining. Pay your taxes. It's an Excellent with Distinction school district. That's worth every penny those teachers earn to put up with people like you and the many unruly spawn folks like you spew forth.
Buster Chops February 11, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Lyn, Time to leave before someone drops a house on you like they did to your sister.
Buster Chops February 11, 2013 at 09:52 PM
Lyn, Please find where I said I will not get Social Security. I simply stated that I will never get everything that I have contributed. You really are quite a failure of the education system. There is also a little something called Government Pension Offset. If you are going to quote the law, why don't you actually read it and understand it before you pop your cork?
Buster Chops February 11, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Call a WAHHHMBULANCE!
Buster Chops February 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Lyn, A long time ago possessives were added to the English language. Some of them are formed by adding 's to some singular words, ' to some plural words, and no apostrophe at all to some pronouns. The details can be quite confusing since all of these can be possessive determiners, my, mine, his, hers, theirs, ours, its, etc. I notice that either you are ignorant of such rules, or else you own an e.e. cummings autograph model keyboard. So pick one - teachers, teacher's, teachers' - but only one is right in any given thought. Your lack of education erodes any logical argument you attempt to assemble.
lyn February 11, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Buster- WOW- Full of personal attacks, aren't you? But, on topic, I saw no comments disputing or arguing the opinions or facts from me or others. I will respond to your question, though. You said: "Please find where I said I will not get Social Security. I simply stated that I will never get everything that I have contributed." HERE: "During that time I have been paying Social Security taxes that I will never collect because of my state retirement." - above, 11:23 am on Sunday, January 27, 2013
lyn February 11, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Buster - WOW - Full of personal attacks, aren't you? But, on topic, I saw no comments disputing or arguing the opinions or facts from me or others. I will respond to your question, though. You said: "Please find where I said I will not get Social Security. I simply stated that I will never get everything that I have contributed. You really are quite a failure of the education system." HERE: "During that time I have been paying Social Security taxes that I will never collect because of my state retirement." - above, 11:23 am on Sunday, January 27, 2013
T Jefferson February 17, 2013 at 03:33 PM
People – can I make a suggestion here? Time and time again we hear someone say that all of the postings (reply trails to a specific posting) from so-and-so have been deleted when she/he pulled their original post. Unfortunately, there was a lot of good discussion associated with that “train of thought” but, because the person pulled it, all of the trails that were attached to that posting are deleted as well. The other problem is that these posting trails are becoming so long, in order to keep up with what is current; one has to review/scan the entire listing to see what is new off of the original posts. My proposal – everybody post every post in the reply box at the end of the article so that none of the postings will be deleted, and, it will be easier to follow. All you have to do is look up where you left off from before. If somebody wants to delete their post, let them. It will not disrupt or delete the train of discussions that will be in chronological order. I can see where someone could set up a posting hoping that everyone replies to it, just so that they can delete their posting and effectively remove the content of the other postings. (Good tactic to remove the anti-union or pro-union posting information).
lyn February 17, 2013 at 03:36 PM
T Jefferson - Good idea

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