Strongsville Teachers Move Toward Strike

Union votes to authorize a work stoppage within the next few weeks


Strongsville teachers took a step toward a strike Friday by voting to authorize a walkout if a contract agreement isn't reached soon.

The Strongsville Education Association overwhelmingly passed a strike authorization vote Friday at its general membership meeting.

The action allows the association to issue a legal strike notice if it decides it is necessary.

Teachers hinted at a strike Feb. 7 when several hundred staged a protest at a School Board meeting, all wearing buttons that said "I don't want to strike, but I will."

A news release from the SEA said the vote was taken "because the Board of Education refuses to negotiate in good faith. The board continues to back their employees into a corner with tired negotiating tactics aimed solely at breaking the backs of the teacher’s union."

“We are running out of options,” SEA spokeswoman Christine Canning said in the news release. “Despite our contract expiring in June of 2012, we returned to the classroom in good faith in order to serve the students of this community.

Canning urged residents to lobby school board members for a settlement.

“By not reaching an agreement after over nine months of bargaining, the Board is now forcing us down a very dangerous path that could lead to a work stoppage in the next couple of weeks,” Canning said. “In order to prevent this work stoppage, community members should immediately call board members and urge them to settle a fair and equitable contract.”

A website launched by the SEA says a "fair and equitable contract" means:

• Enough time in the school day to plan lessons, meet one-on-one with students, grade papers, respond to parents' questions and handle other duties.

• Manageable class sizes.

• Keeping art, music and physical education classes intact at the elementary schools.

• The ability to attract and retain quality teachers.

• Respect as valued professionals.

The site also recounts seven negotiating sessions between July 9 and Jan. 29, noting "No Progress" after each.

On Jan. 30, SEA declared an impasse, meaning future sessions would include a mediator. 

The SEA news release says a strike "may be the only option remaining to bring an end to the continued patter of outrageous, irresponsible, divisive and malicious behavior by the board."

“Today’s vote is a call to action to the board that the teachers of the district are invested in providing quality education to the children of our community,” Canning said. “But we have to protect our working conditions because they are ultimately our students learning conditions.”

SEA represents nearly 385 certified employees, including teachers, guidance counselors and special education interventionists in the Strongsville School District.

James Murphy February 22, 2013 at 10:48 PM
no room at the BOE meeting it was packed with teachers and teachers families with a few teacher picked students in need of teacher recomondations chosen to speak for the teachers (note the little children holding union signs)
lyn February 22, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Mary- Try cleveland.com - but not much support there either for teachers getting more pay or benefits. You want an educated discussion,but I see the only ones you care to hear from are those agreeing that the teachers pockets should be lined more.
Lyssa Gwin February 23, 2013 at 03:30 AM
James- A concerned parent spoke to the board regarding recommendations, yes. No students were asked to speak by the teachers. I spoke on my own, without any pestering. The 3 other students that spoke were advocating teachers rights, students rights and a peaceful settlement between both parties. So, instead of talking out of your butt, get your facts straight. Oh, and for the record, they are asking for what they DESERVE. That's what degrees are for, silly. Do you think a brain surgeon would accept 50k just because they saved lives? Uh, no. It's about what you work for and deserve.
Jean Williams February 23, 2013 at 04:05 AM
Alyssa Gwinn I to attempted to speak for the board last night, but before I even got there the entire place was filled to capacity with teachers and their families, and I could not even get into the meeting It is good that you attended and was given a chance to speak. I just find it interesting what teachers find important to swell a board meeting. I have never saw you or any of these teachers at any meeting before when the board was discussing supplies and school issues that are "for the children" but bring up money and they come out of the woodwork And Alyssa I have already called members of the board showing my support as has more people than you could ever fathom. but again I am very glad you are taking such an active role on the proper use of our tax dollars, and one day when it is you footing the bill see if you feel the same
Beverly February 23, 2013 at 04:17 AM
Only blowhard is you Mary/Chrystal-you wouldn't know how to comprehend anything intelligible,so it's clear why you can't discern why taxpayers are so upset. We are not against teachers,just against the system that allows them to keep bleeding us of money because it's so broken.It doesn't take a genius to figure out that pouring more money into a broken system is not the answer.The current board has the unenviable task of trying to stop the bleeding. There simply is no more money to support the teachers excesssive retirement benefits,which are a continual drain on the districts budget year after year.Sometimes it takes a hard unpopular stance to effect needed change.All the bleeding hearts can boo-hoo all they want,but it won't pay the districts bills and neither will the taxpayers anymore-we are simply tapped out.
Myron Shibley February 23, 2013 at 04:54 AM
Alyssa, your comment is literally what is wrong with our entire country. You don't DESERVE anything because you have a degree. So because you chose to spend an inordinate amount of money on a diploma, I, as you employer, must hire you at an exaggerated pay rate? That is the most illogical argument i've ever heard. A degree entitles you to NOTHING. If I can find someone to do your job better with a bachelors degree...you know what I tell you...thank you and good luck in your next job. "But sir, I have a masters degree from BW...you have to pay me more...I deserve it!" See ya. Look at how many college kids come out in these massive amounts of debt and cry, blaming the banks, because of their student loans (that they VOLUNTARILY signed) and that they don't have jobs. It is the entitlement mindset. There is no guarantee that you have a job out of school with ANY degree. "it's about what you work for and deserve." What an idiotic comment. Did you ever think that there are plenty of ppl here that probably deserve more pay for hrs worked? Are they whining about it? "But i have a degree...waaaaaaahhhh!!!" So it's definitely you that should stop "talking out of your butt" and realize that the real world is going to wake you and the rest of the entitlement minded class up one day with a reality check...NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING.
Beverly February 23, 2013 at 02:50 PM
You are 100% right about everything you said to Lyssa.However,we must cut her a break-she is young,immature-in that she does not have the life experience that we who pay the taxes that provide an education for her do. The big question to all that has been discussed here & in other posts is "how are we going to fund all that these teachers want?" That is & has always been the entire problem. You are absolutely correct Myron: NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO ANYTHING & that is the problem w/everyone's mindset here that "supports" the teachers.However,we also have to look @ the bigger picture of a president that supports and ENCOURAGES entitlement with his socialist agenda.It's just great to want to help out those who don't want to work & want to collect $ off others contributions-problem is that at some point those who feel entitled outnumber those who support them monetarily & then they end up joining that class of people & everyone in the middle class becomes poor. Everything looks great on paper when they propose these "grand ideas"-but in reality,when you just don't have the money to fund it,you have a huge dispairity & the eventual collapse of a system-be it our middle class or a city's school system,like in our case. Each year the school system falls deeper & deeper in debt trying to keep up with unrealistic expenses.The BOE is simply asking teachers (who claim to care about students,but haven't ever gone to the BOE about items/issues to BENEFIT STUDENTS)....
Beverly February 23, 2013 at 03:06 PM
....to do as the rest of middle class America has had to do & adjust their expectations & give a little to make things function. The selfishness,greed & entitlement are what keeps getting in the way.The big news flash is that taxpayers can't give anymore & have made so many concessions for their own families that they are NOT FINANCIALLY ABLE to put out any more money for those who feel entitled. The result will be that they or their fellow teachers will lose their jobs over this because the schools just cannot function in a continual deficit & the state isn't giving any more $ either. Until someone tries to fix the states broken system-which we all know was deemed unconstitutional over 15 years ago & has yet to be attempted to be fixed-we will have to do what we have to do to keep running. If that means firing & replacing people because they were too greedy to save theirs or their fellow teachers jobs,then so be it-WE SIMPLY CAN"T GO ON LIKE THIS,IN A DEFICIT. So,Lyssa,instead of being a smart @ss or perhaps a dumb @ss,tell us,how do you propose we pay for all these teachers want? It's all about funding-there is no money,you can only cut so much & the teachers only want cuts that will affect the students & benefit teachers.SO, who truly cares about the students?-the BOE who is trying to keep the schools afloat, or the teachers who don't want to give up excessive retirement funds that bankrupt the schools.I can tell you one thing,the BOE isn't operating out of greed.
Myron Shibley February 23, 2013 at 03:22 PM
All good analysis Bev. I was going to say maybe I was a bit harsh to Alyssa, but after re-reading her comment, I don't think I was. There are plenty of people will continue to encourage her to think as she does now, that society owes you what you think you "deserve." But there are way fewer ppl that will give her an early, honest dose of reality. No one owes you anything based on your education, degree, status, etc. if you are getting a higher learning degree w the sole expectation of being paid more after you get it, then you will be the whiner who tells everyone your sob story that you can't get a job that fits your education level. Boo-hoo! Ya know what, if u need money for u or ur family...I don't care if u have 3 PhD's...if there's no work paying what u think u "deserve"...get off ur ass and put the tissue box away...then either start your own biz or sweep up the street...you do whatever you have to do to survive and keep working your way up. For your sake Alyssa I truly hope you don't fall into the entitlement mindset, although it sounds as if ur already at the doorstep.
Jean Williams February 23, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Lyssa Gwin a question for you A concerned citizen suggested cutting out busing to pay for the teachers raises, As a student,Lyssa starting Monday would you be willing to walk to school to give the teachers a raise
lyn February 23, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Lyssa - Another question- would you be willing to live with the current problems that you mentioned- "mold growing from the ceilings in the science hallway ... a hole in the ceiling with a broken compressor that leaks when it rains" just so the teachers could have more and could continue paying less for their own benefits? If there is only "x" amount of money available, the money has to come from somewhere. Just a note - I'm not sure what fund the repairs come out of, but go with this example anyhow - just to illustrate to us how much you think the students should sacrifice for their teachers.
irish92 February 23, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Rich, The "union relationship" (do you mean tenure?) only grants the right of due process before being fired. It is not a talisman that magically protects teachers. Test scores are excellent with distinction, and as the state funding formula currently grants this title for improvement and growth, I'd say that's a pretty good indication that scores are going up. If the union only protected "bad" teachers, why would districts that have unions also have good test scores (Solon, Rocky River, Brecksville, Brunswick.)? Wouldn't the big bad union protect bad teachers there also?
tom m February 23, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Lyn you actually do not want to hear the answer to that....... our new bond issue that we passed has money set aside for "School Repairs" ..so in theory they can take existing levy money that was allocated for the same school repairs and use it for whatever they want
lyn February 23, 2013 at 04:45 PM
tom- Thanks. I was thinking that, because they included such a large portion in that bond levy to go for improvements at the high school. But, I want her to answer based on the assumption that we only have "x" amount and what if it comes down to deciding who it goes for, the kids or the teachers? What if it meant deciding on those repairs or the teachers. And, if the teachers do get close to what they are asking for monetarily, then it will effect that second bond levy for Phase 2 that will be put up on the ballot soon - voters will remember how their money was spent and say no to that as well as any levy to pay for the teacher increases. And, a question for anyone - the teachers allege the BOE urged people to vote against a levy - huh????
lyn February 23, 2013 at 05:02 PM
tom- But, no, you are right. I don't like the idea that they allocated money for the repairs and now will give that money to the teachers since we passed the bond levy for repairs also - doesn't seem proper. How can it be that they can twice get money for the same repairs when they put this to the voters? And then use the funds for teachers instead? How do they expect the voters to believe they will use the money as they are asking for in the future? This makes me fear that "cushion" I was afraid they might be creating that I mentioned back before the bond levy passed really does exist for other things - like just in case they cave in to the teachers. If money was allocated for repairs, can they really give it to the teachers?
Terri February 23, 2013 at 05:44 PM
irish92 - I beg to differ with you. The union DOES protect bad "Educators " from being fired. Perfect example: Whitney Elementary School (Strongsville) A second grade "Educator" was repeatedly shaking and picking her students up by their collars. Parents complained, as they should. The Principal acknowledged the problem, and attempted to terminate the "Educator's" employment....To the rescue, not of the small children, but of the "Educator", came the union. The "Educator" was not terminated, instead, she was transferred to another elementary school in Strongsville, where she could physically abuse more small children. Anyone not protected by a union would probably face jail time for such actions.
Tracy Smith February 23, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Tom and Lyn, I am pretty sure they can not use the bond money for anything other than building repairs and the construction of the new middle school. In fact they were adamant in that fact it was to be used only for its intended purpose, I believe I saw an article specifically mention that point. I will see if I can find it again. One thing I did hear was that our govt funding could be reduced by $1m it was discussed in the 2/7/13 meeting.
Holly Lamovsky February 23, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Tracy, you are correct. Bond money is separate from money taken in from operating levies and may only be used for permanent improvements like the construction of the new middle school and repairs/improvements to other schools. Bond money is requested for a specific purpose and may only be used for that purpose. It can not be funneled into salaries.
James Murphy February 23, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Tracy and Holly What Tom M is saying is correct (while you 2 are only half correct) Bond money cannot be used for salaries The bond issue HAS money set aside just for school repairs. The levy also has money set aside for school repairs If you use the repair portion of the bond money to make the needed repairs it will free up levy money to use for ----WHATEVER
yes i am a teacher February 28, 2013 at 12:01 AM
You are right- the teachers who teach in Easy Cleveland should make more, but that doesn't mean the teachers in Strongsville should make less.
Lyssa Gwin March 05, 2013 at 05:04 AM
The schools were complete chaos today--so, let me ask you this--if the BOE promised the students and parents that the schools would be "business as usual," then why were kids sitting on the floors and on top of desks? Why did the BOE promise to secure my education when they knew they couldn't? I went from 4 classes a day to 1. The classes that I need for college are gone thanks to the greedy pricks that sit on their asses all day long. I don't care who I offend at this point. I pay taxes. I work here. I live here. I love it here. However, my opinion needs to be heard and I'm done being politically correct. If my teachers don't come back then this city better bet their sorry asses that we will no longer be rated as excellence with distinction. Excellent students come from excellent teachers-- not some homies out of the hood.
lyn March 05, 2013 at 01:13 PM
Lyssa Gwin- You end your comment with - " Excellent students come from excellent teachers-- not some homies out of the hood." Why did you stop there and not just use the "n" word? What a disgusting, racist thing to write! All I can think is it must be a result of your upbringing or teachers! Young lady, you have completely lost any credibility that you may have had. And, I doubt no adults on here will cut you one ounce of slack after your comments above.
Beverly March 05, 2013 at 01:33 PM
"greedy pricks that sit on their asses all day long"-Lyssa,I thought you liked your teachers & walking a picket line in the cold is not sitting on their asses. Guess yesterday was a dose of reality for you & maybe now you can understand the frustrations of the taxpayers & parents. What disturbs me most s that you've gone from an intelligent well spoken student to being influenced by the behavior of those teachers you once looked up to & have apparrantly learned from them to model that same poor behavior.I would have expected more from a student from a district that claims to be "excellent with distinction. However, I would have also expected more from the teachers who claim to be the reason for the district being excellent & yet many of them have shown us why so many of the kids are being misbehaved & disrespectful because of they who taught them to be so,their "model teachers". I am only referring to those teachers who told students to cause trouble for subs,who screamed profanities @ subs,jumped on cars & the like. Sad day in Strongsville when they have influenced their students to stoop to their level. I am especially sad for those teachers who feel forced to picket although they don't believe in any of what the SEA is doing-and there are many of them who are caught between a rock & a hard place. This is a huge life lesson Lyssa,that you don't always get your way,but it's how you behaved during the "negotiations" that will be remembered long after this is all over.
Lyssa Gwin March 05, 2013 at 02:16 PM
Beverly-- I am also a taxpayer. I understand where you're coming from. Just please understand my frustrations as a student at this point: my teachers don't speak English and we aren't learning anything-- we're only doing silent sustained reading. I could do that at home! And, for the record, I wasn't referring to African American subs when I said "homies from the hood." Yesterday, a substitute teacher (who was white), said, "How y'all spell dis?" to the class when she was trying to write something on the board. I am not a racist, but I do see how my last comment could have been skewed and I apologize if I have offended anybody.
Beverly March 05, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Trust me Lyssa,most of us understand your frustrations too well. You are obviously a good kid who just wants to get her education & move forward in life in a positive manner. The current situation is placing a huge roadblock.Do not let it discourage you & just weather the storm the best you can. Out of bad things/experiences, often come good things and much needed changes. As an old lady,I have had much life experience that has taught me this. At times I can get pretty fired up as well & even say things that I should probably word differently out of frustration because I've lived here so long & the politics in this city can be overwhelming and infuriating. However, I truly do have alot of hope and faith in you young people-you are a progressive generation and have been handed alot of crap to deal with that was not of your doing. We all lose much in so many ways w/all that's happening. Be the one that chooses to take those negatives & make them into positives. I know at the time that may seem an insurmountable task. Consider it a lesson in compassion & empathy-some of those substitutes do not come from all the advantages some of us have had,but they still deserve to be treated & respected as human beings-after all they are trying their best & attempting to make a living for themselves,which is more than I can say for the 47% in our country who want to live off others to "support" themselves. Have faith,this will be a learning experience of a different kind -it's "real life"
lyn March 05, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Lyssa- When people are - angry (as it is VERY apparent you are from your comment) - tired ( it was 12:04 in the morning) - drunk (example, Mel Gibson), they often say things they wish they had not and wish they could take them back. Those same people apologize and try to explain that they really meant to say something else, or say that's not what I really meant. Sometimes no spin can fix what is written or taped. What you said is definitely code for saying the "n" word. And it is reflective of what the teachers have done on their FB page "wall of shame" regarding the pictures of the subs and deleted comments. Those same teachers you idolize. I know you regret saying it - but you did.
Beverly March 05, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Lyssa, I'm proud to say,some of you young people have taught alot of we "old folks" alot too. I admire the fire & passion you have for that which you believe in. It' hard to make informed comments when one side or the other in this issue won't show all their cards so to speak. The teachers keep saying there are unfair items we taxpayers just don't now about-well, then tell us so we can "understand"! Apart from that it basically comes down to one main issue & that alone-there just isn't the money to fund all they want.I know they are used to great perks that they received when times were good & they don't want to give them back.But times are not good financially in our country & won't be for a long while,if ever again. We just don't know.What we do know ,from experience,is that when you don't have money,you can't spend money.That's all the board is trying to do,keep us fiscally sound. It is a hard job that no one likes. Don't the teachers think that if there was $ the BOE would do what it could? After all,it's in their best interests(and all of ours) to have good ,efficient teachers that keep our district excellent. Alot of the frustrations of many have brought out the ugliness-being constantly asked for more money to throw at a broken system when most have given all they can & are struggling to keep their heads above water. This coupled w/the issues of unions that don't even represent the best interests of all teachers-they "sacrificed" the jobs of some of their fellow....
lyn March 05, 2013 at 03:06 PM
And, unless you own a home, YOU do not pay real estate taxes which help fund the school. The 2% city taxes help pay for the police and fire.
Beverly March 05, 2013 at 03:08 PM
....teachers in the past,so that they could keep their jobs & benefits-is that fair? NO! Unions,at one time had a purpose & usefulness-they have no place in todays society,especially as it pertains to education/teachers. It's a very difficult situation & everyone has their own opinion, but please examine both side & try to understand both sides. At some point something will have to give because we can't go on like this .
Lyssa Gwin March 06, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Lyn-- I don't regret what I said, I just wish I worded it differently. If you want to read between the lines, fine. I can't stop you. I know I didn't mean it in a racist manner and frankly I don't care if you think otherwise. I'm not here to argue about race. I'm here because I deserve better; especially from people like you. Beverly-- Thank you for your intelligence and understanding attitude


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