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School Board Challenges Teachers to Go Public with Contract Offers

Union takes "vote of no confidence" in school leaders

 

The Strongsville School Board offered to make public its contract offer to teachers in a show of "transparency," hours after the teachers' union filed a 10-day strike notice.

School Board President David Frazee said both sides should post their offers on the school district's website to let the public see what teachers are seeking and what the board is offering.

"We're willing to do it," Frazee told a room full of teachers at a board meeting Thursday night. "But it sounds like the teachers aren't."

The challenge followed an hour of statements and questions from educators and parents, many lamenting that substitutes will be unable to offer quality education to students if teachers stop working March 4.

Some asked whether the district could find enough substitutes; others complained about the money the district is spending on an attorney to help with the negotiations.

Parent Helen Smith said the strike could seriously affect her daughter's scholarship chances if teachers aren't there to write letters of recommendation -- and teach her Advanced Placement calculus class.

"We are still in negotiations and it is my hope a strike can be averted," Superintendent John Krupinski said. "It is also our responsibility to be prepared."

Just before the meeting, the teachers gathered in the Strongsville High School auditorium for a press conference, where they took a vote of "no confidence" in the school board.

SEA President Tracy Linscott said the board is "trying to balance their books on the backs of their staff" and has presented a contract that would "slash" art, music and physical education in elementary schools and greatly increease class sizes.

The board has also "acted as if $3 million in concessions by the teachers (in the last contract) never happened," Linscott said.

At the subsequent school board meeting, SEA members said it is illegal to make the contract offers public, but board member Jennifer Sinisgalli said it is allowable if both sides agree to it.

Strongsville Patch will have more coverage, including video, of the School Board meeting and SEA press conference Friday.

Tracy Smith February 24, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Mark - Are we sure its the board who are unwilling to negotiate and saying take this, who knows what the SEA originally proposed as well. I have to say both sides sound guilty to me. Also I recall a post (I believe it was by Sville teacher) who said that teachers did not get pay increases for completing their Master degrees which is not completely true, I just read the notes from the Sept 2012 and low and behold documented in the notes where the approvals for raises for several teachers due to successful completion of their Master degrees. As you said earlier its complicated and it sounds like their is a great deal of blame to be shared. (and why am I reading through old board meeting minutes, I am trying to make an educated decision about all this and I am sick of my children, my neighbors children and all the children in the Strongsville system being used as a bargaining chip in this)
tom m February 24, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Mark yes that would be a great Idea..... just have 4 Strongsville teachers meet with 4 board members and come up with a deal, then let the 4 teachers take the agreed upon proposal right to the teachers without consulting the union first,............... thus keeping the lawyers and the union out of this.........
tom m February 24, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Mark, another example of political grandstanding is filling a board meeting up with mainly teachers and family members ............and allowing 7 to 8 year old kids to be holding up union signs
tom m February 24, 2013 at 08:06 PM
And Mark this statement i agree with you 100% " I feel the government we pay taxes has and obligation to us as its citizens - not to foreign countries whose only interest is our money and protection but hate us for everything else that we stand for" but in this case we are talking about the proper use of our levy dollars
Mark in Strongsville February 24, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Tracy - you are right. I don't know what either proposal is. But I think negotiations would be best served without lawyers trying to get their cut. Let the board and teacher reps WORK something out and then give it to the lawyers to make sure it conforms to all of the legal mumbo-jumbo. Tom - I understand re: the levy dollars. As I recall some thirty-odd years ago the supreme court deemed how Ohio funds it schools was illegal... but I don't believe anything ever really changed about how we did it. My frustration is with the federal and state governments that are leaving us all out to dry. If they took THEIR responsibilities seriously we wouldn't really be in this mess to begin with.

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