Teachers, School Board Trade Jabs

Emotions run high in Strongsville after strike notice is filed


More than 300 Strongsville teachers and supporters jammed a tension-filled School Board meeting Thursday, hours after the Strongsville Education Association filed an 10-day strike notice.

If an agreement on a new contract is not reached by March 3, teachers will strike March 4.

A negotiating session is set for today, and another is tentatively scheduled for Monday.

Developments in the situation Thursday:

SEA Holds Press Conference

The nearly 400 members of the SEA met in the auditorium at Strongsville High School, where they overwhelmingly took a vote of "no confidence" in the school board.

SEA President Tracy Linscott said the board has "continually failed to properly fund the district" and is now going to "build buildings the district does not need and cannot afford to run."

Linscott also said the board got teachers to agree to millions of dollars of cuts in their last contract by promising new revenue from a levy, then told voters not to approve it. 

Over the last nine months of negotiations, teachers were presented with a "shock and awe" proposal, she said. Taking their concerns directly to the School Board proved futile.

"They continually have taken the easy way out," Linscott said.

The Board Responds

At the subsequent board meeting, School Board President David Frazee read a statement that said "we have long provided our teachers with one of the best compensation/benefit packages in the state."

The board's contract proposal "reflected current economic realities," he said.

"Frankly, it is hard to comprehend why a strike notice was issued when we are still in negotiations," Frazee said. "The teachers will lose their pay and benefits while they are on strike."

Frazee and other board members also challenged the teachers to make their contract demands public, offering to post both the SEA's proposals and the board's on the school district website.

Teachers and Supporters Speak

An estimated 100 teachers filled out requests to speak at the board meeting, but public comment was limited to an hour, which allowed about a dozen people to talk.

Jennifer Williams asked whether the district could find enough substitutes to cover all the classrooms, or it students would be herded into large groups.

Amy McMillan questioned the company Strongsville may hire to handle the strike, reading from a 2006 newspaper article that says Huffmaster hired strike security personnel with criminal backgrounds during a strike near Sandusky.

Superintendent John Krupinski said any employees, including substitute teachers, hired to fill in during a strike would be certified and undergo background checks.

Students Chime In

Mathangi Sridharan, one of two student liaisons to the school board, ended her monthly report with an emotional message of support for the teachers, dissolving into tears as she and co-liaison Jordan Kelley got up and walked away from their seats with the board and joined the teachers in the audience, to cheers and a standing ovation from crowd.

Kelley later went to the podium to charge that Krupinski had called his mother, threatening to oust him as liaison if he did not remain neutral on the strike issue.

Krupinski said he called Jordan's mother because he was concerned about putting him in an uncomfortable position.

"I wanted to be protective of them as students," Krupinski said.

A small group of students attended the meeting to back teachers.

"We value our teachers. We support our teachers," SHS senior Lyssa Gwinn said. "They supported us for 12 years."

She later charged that students were pulled out of class -- at Krupinski's direction, she said -- for posting a pro-teacher comment on Strongsville Patch.

Krupinski said he would never take that type of action against a student.

"They have every right to post on Facebook and Patch," he said.


lyn February 24, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Elsie- Having a hard time finding where these comments are on this page... Here we go... You might be right on the 9.3%. I have only seen comments related to the 10.2% for this year. And, even the teacher on here seem to think its 10.2%. It was my understanding that it had been previously at 10%. And now, a cap of 10.2% for the BOE's contribution for the teachers share this year, because of the teachers share increasing yearly by 1% until its at 14%. That 10% amount has always been the % people have talked about, even before these latest talks.
Elsie February 24, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Yes, Lyn, the posting system is a bid off - maybe due to the volumn. I still don't see how to post to a reply only how to reply to the parent post. Sorry if my posts are out of place. What I was trying to say is the percentages are off. STRS employee part is 10% not 10.2 and the pick up on the pick up is 1% of the 10% not on the total salary. Sorry the math person in we wants to be accurate. I see nothing on teachers asking for a percentage increase in addition. My only point is at 9.3% to just wash the pick up will create an increase cost to the board and tax payers as well as a cost in net pay to the teachers due to any increase to the base increasing the 14% the board must pay. No way the board should entertain this - if the treasurer is correct they can't afford any increase to the current base. They need to find ways to decrease salary costs. The salary quoted I did look up on the State Transparency Project (I don't like Buckeye it tends to have inaccurate information on pensions). She did get an bump up but I don't think Strongsville has negotiated any % increase on their scale since 08 or 09. This has to be a step increase and maybe a column bump up for coursework. Maybe the two together. If SERB would put Strongsville's contract back up we could then check this.
Al Sharptonski February 24, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Steve, If you made the decision to steer clear of sinking ships, then you should yell "man overboard" and jump off the Titanic...also known as...your career. If you know who we are, then you know we don't mess around and can play. If your as good as you say you are, then get me a spot to play in the Rib Burn Off this year and prove it....that is if you can find time between flying cargo.
lyn February 24, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Yes- "what if" to possibly explain that $15,000 figure floating out there. I would think they would use percentages in the contract, but applying those % gives you a better feel for what one might be earning. I was working backwards, mathematically, to arrive at that $15,000 amount and %.
lyn February 24, 2013 at 09:03 PM
That raise I was speaking of was for 2008-09. I really don't care about the crying over SOME not getting any increases since then. She did a very good one. And, we all know what the private sector has faced since 2008. But yet the teachers think they should not be effected by the same economic problems (national, state, and local) everyone else has been?
Steve the Agent February 24, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Al, You really think you're ready for the big time, the rib circuit? Wow. I run with the big dogs. I know a guy who knows Eddie Money. I don't jeopardize my reputation with unknown commodities. Tell you what, I can get you into Eddie and Iggy's in Lakewood on a Tuesday night. Let's see how you do there before we start talking the big venues. I take 25 percent of gate, and have full rights to any/all recording/songs (covered or original) performed. If you aint the lead dog, the view never changes.
Al Sharptonski February 24, 2013 at 09:26 PM
I only suggested the rib burn off because I thought that was your booking equivalent to Madison Square Garden. Youre a real @ss, you know that? Get in touch with me. I'll play that hole in Lakewood. I'll do the 25% but me and rest of guys aint ever giving you rights to our music. who the hell do you think you are, Lou Pearlman? And don't talk like your above rib burn offs and stuff...because I saw you there last year stuffing your sweaty, bbq sauce covered face. And I know you booked my buddy's band at berea paninis...which aint no House of Blues if you ask me. Either put up or shut up.
Elsie February 24, 2013 at 09:29 PM
From the STRS website: Increase in Member Contributions Beginning July 1, 2013 Increase member contributions by 4%, phased in 1% per year beginning July 1, 2013, through July 1, 2016 Members will contribute 14% of their salary to STRS Ohio beginning July 1, 2016. Currently, members contribute 10%. https://www.strsoh.org/legislation/legislation.html --------------- The board part has always been 14%. After 2016 both will contribute 14%. Right now the board pays 9.3% and the teachers pay .7% which equals the 10%. You are correct it will be going up in the future for the teachers half.
Steve the Agent February 24, 2013 at 09:50 PM
There are only a few certainties in life: death and taxes. Let me add another one...you'll never work in Cleveland again. I've fried bigger fish than you in my kitchen. You aren't cut out for show biz you small timer. Believe it or not, your band became less relevant. How does one get less relevant than being unknown? Not sure, but you just did. You don't step into the emperors chamber with demands and attitude. You're dismissed.
Al Sharptonski February 24, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Arrogant hack. I'm sure I'll see you in line arguing for some free upgrade at the Southwest counter after you've booked your ultra-super-saver fun fare with 32 layovers to go 500 miles. Cheapskate. Private jet my @ss. You act like your some big shot. You book local lounge acts in Cleveland suburbs. Talk about "unknown." Most people who are well known don't have to put their occupation in their name...d-bag. You've booked some of my buddy's before (Rich Weil, Rushhour) and they said you were an arrogant SOB. They also said you couldn't deliver on anything you promised...and the girls that followed the band also felt the same way, if you get my drift. Can't speak for the girls, but my buddies were right. Loser.
Myron Shibley February 24, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Why don't both of you idiots take your stupid argument somewhere else where people may actually care about it. Sounds like your both lacking in the funds and talent department, among other things...so maybe your time would be better spent getting day jobs instead of living some pipe dream. Perhaps take a walk up into the mountains and maybe not ever return...that would be nice for us all as well. Your choice. You actually made some good points steve...it's a shame you turned out to be some wanna be rich guy who brags about things he'll never see. And take it from me...I know a poser when I see one.
sville senior February 24, 2013 at 10:29 PM
I agree I do not see what this has to do with the teachers going on strike
Steve the Agent February 24, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Al, As I'm sure your friend advised, I'm also an attorney (goes hand in hand with my job). Your comments are libelous and will be the basis of my lawsuit against you. I'd garnish your wages but how will I take 15 percent of 0?
Al Sharptonski February 24, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Sure thing Steve the Agent, or is it Steve the Attorney? or maybe Steve the Carpet Installer? Bring the lawsuit on. I'm sure the judge won't laugh your case out of court. "You have what again as proof Steve the Lawyer? A person telling you that you are a lowlife talentless manager on a message board? How can you sue him for stating the facts?" Like that guy on TV says, I'll make you pay. You ain't got enough paper anyway to take me to court, or at least enough to pay my attorney fees when I'm done ripping your off-the-rack Men's Warehouse wearin' behind apart in the courtroom. you're all talk. No one likes you here Steve. There were enough losers on this board already, you just maxed us out.
Steve the Agent February 24, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Haters gonna hate, so I'll just sit back and let the money pile up.
Holly Lamovsky February 25, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Al & Steve, let me recommend an online dating site...www.sugardaddy.com. Perhaps you two can continue to get acquainted over there and leave this board to more appropriate discussion.
Fart Modell February 25, 2013 at 07:40 PM
When did Strongsville acquire so many small minded people?
lyn February 25, 2013 at 09:21 PM
I wonder if any progress is being made with the talks. I wonder if the teachers have realized that the money is just not there and unless a levy were to pass for them to have more, they will not get more. Maybe the BOE should just present it to the union this way - 1 - We are not going to do this every 2 years. This will be a 4 year contract. 2 - The pension pick up will eliminated. 3 - We all know how much money is projected to be available over those 4 years. 4 - We know how much is required for the other kids needs, and the district refuses to make any more cuts that will effect these needs directly - books, technology equipment, busing, activities, aides,... 5 - We know what is a satisfactory amount to plan on having as a needed surplus for each year, after all expenses - that surplus being needed for unplanned expenses, emergencies... 6 - That leaves "x" amount to be allocated to salary and benefits. 7 - So, union - how do YOU want that "x" amount distributed over the next 4 years of the contract?
Tina Lewis Kozarik February 25, 2013 at 09:39 PM
My friend's daughter at the HS said that her teachers told her the strike is definitely on as of today. There was a meeting scheduled this past Friday with one possibly today. So, I'm guessing no progress. Again, please contact Tracy Linscott, SEA President and encourage her to stop this. The SEA called for the strike, the board did not lock them out. The SEA is telling their supporters to contact the board, so why not contact them? Tracy can be reached at linscott@strongnet.org or SEACommunique@gmail.com.
tom m February 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM
7 days from now the teachers will be standing outside begging for car horns from the passing taxpayers. ..... too bad the community will never forgive (pass another levy) the board if they give the teachers that $15,000 contract that I heard they want
FedUp February 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM
I heard they are asking for a never expiring contract...does anyone know if that is true or not? I also heard that any work the kids do in school while the strike is going on will not count (I think that was told by a student). Does anyone know the specifics of any of this stuff? I sent an email to the Superintendant but who knows if he will respond.
Tina Lewis Kozarik February 26, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Fed Up- I don't know if the statement about a never ending contract is true or not; but I would surmise that it's not. That's not a realistic request. As for the work counting- the work will count. I was at the board meeting when the question came up about whether or not it will count AGAINST the kids if the parents choose to keep their kids home and Mr. Krupinski said that any work (tests, etc..) not completed during that time would just be kept out. So, in other words, they will not be given zeroes. Don't be upset if you don't hear back from him right away, he's probably getting a ton of emails right now.
Tina Lewis Kozarik February 26, 2013 at 01:10 AM
The teachers were protesting outside board members homes this evening, chanting "Settle Now". Wow. Imagine what the small children who live in these homes must think of their teachers. What a wonderful example to set.
lyn February 26, 2013 at 01:26 AM
HUH? How many??? Really?? If so, that is low. Totally unacceptable. My opinion of them just got worse. I hope there was news coverage of this bad behavior so everyone can see there is nothing this group won't do. How would the teachers like it if the taxpayers went to the teachers homes and did the same? What if board members did this? Would it be acceptable to call a teachers home? Total lowlifes doing this. But, now they have set the bar. I guess to bring this to ones home is acceptable to them.
Average Bob February 26, 2013 at 01:28 AM
Really? I love how the teachers and the union paint themselves as innocent in front of the kids/media and then show up at people's homes, private property to protest. And Tina is correct, how do we not know these people don't have children that are witnessing this garbage? What a bunch of human trash.
Tina Lewis Kozarik February 26, 2013 at 01:29 AM
All 5 board members- you probably just got Debbie's story on it along w/a picture. One lives right around the corner from me- another neighbor called to tell me, I got in my car to go snap a pic for Facebook and they were gone. I guess there were about 20. Nice. Talk about lowering the bar. And they expect to garner support this way? I'm almost out of words to describe how disgusted I am by this.
lyn February 26, 2013 at 01:31 AM
Teachers are frightening the kids way too much. Where is their concern for them?? Even bringing up a 7 year old article about a problem with the strike security firm that has since been resolved long ago, frightening parents and kids - that's despicable.
lyn February 27, 2013 at 03:11 PM
The district has provided many answers to our questions online: http://www.strongnet.org/cms/lib6/OH01000884/Centricity/Domain/1/Questions%20and%20Answers.pdf
tom m February 27, 2013 at 04:21 PM
a much better teachers salary website http://www.tos.ohio.gov/teacher_salary
Dave P. March 02, 2013 at 08:04 PM
As a taxpaying citizen who the teachers work for, all I can say is "you're fired" goodbye you greedy union thugs


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