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Education


UPDATE: Strongsville board turns down teachers' offer to end strike through arbitration
Teachers union calls for binding arbitration to end its nearly five-week strike
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
The strike by nearly 400 teachers, counselors and others began March 4.
Courtesy of Kabir Bhatia
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In The Region:

The Strongsville school board is turning down the latest attempt by teachers to end their strike, which is in its fifth week.

Today, the teachers proposed a process known as binding arbitration, which would put the major issues in contract talks in a third-party’s hands. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that the board says that isn’t in its best interests.

SCHULTZE: Teachers latest offer

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The Strongsville Education Association says its nearly 400 teachers, counselors, nurses and psychologists are ready to go back to school immediately – if the school board goes along with the arbitration proposal. 

Unlike a mediator, an arbitrator would choose from one side or the other on each issue, rather than trying for common ground.

Neither Strongsville Superintendent John Krupinski nor school board President David Frazee could be reached for comment

But in a written statement, Frazee dismissed the idea as “delegating to an out-of-town third party the authority to spend Strongsville taxpayer dollars.”

Teachers’ union President Tracy Linscott  says, if the school board is convinced of its arguments, it should welcome arbitration.

“Why would the board not want this to work? The board really has nothing to lose; they have everything to gain. They get their teachers back in the classroom. Their students are back in with highly qualified teachers and they can stop wasting money on unqualified teachers and save themselves $1.8 million on Huffmasters.”

Huffmasters is the outside strike security firm Strongsville has hired.

The statement from the school board says the district’s last-best offer, which preceded the March 4 strike, “is both fair and sustainable in terms of today’s economic realities.”

 

Here's the timeline of Strongsville's teachers' strike
By KABIR BHATIA

  • June 2012: Strongsville teachers begin negotiations on a new contract.  At issue are items such as pay freezes, dental benefits and retirement pensions.
  • February 21, 2013: The Strongsville Education Association files notice that it will strike in 10 days if an agreement is not reached.  The teachers say they’ve made enough concessions in the last two contracts. Superintendent John Krupinski says the school system could face a $6 million deficit in coming years if the books aren’t balanced.
  • March 2: The district makes its last, best offer
  • March 3: The district begins hiring replacements for nearly 400 teachers, school nurses, counselors and psychologists.
  • March 4: Day 1 of the strike
  • March 7: The school board cancels its scheduled meeting as a student rally in support of the teachers takes place outside.
  • March 11: Ohio Graduation Tests begin, with both Superintendent Krupinski and students agreeing it’s going smoothly.arch 15: About 100 parents and students hold a rally against the strike, asking teachers to accept the March 2 contract offer.
  • March 17: A five-hour meeting between the two sides yields no results; the board stands firm on its last, best offer of March 2.
  • March 21: The Board of Education declines a request by Mayor Thomas Perciak to meet, saying it will only attend meetings at the request of federal mediators.
  • March 22: Students walk out in a show of frustration, urging both sides to come back to the bargaining table. The teachers’ union delivers a new contract with input from Mayor Perciak.  It reportedly includes $300,000 in savings to the district.  The board agrees to meet with teachers on March 26.
  • March 24: About a dozen Strongsville teachers join a protest by postal workers at the main Post Office in downtown Cleveland over the proposed elimination of Saturday mail. The local AFL-CIO announces that postal workers will return the favor by joining the Strongsville picket line
  • March 26: A 12-hour meeting yields no results.


Statement from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown:

“Strongsville students deserve a settlement now. But a settlement can’t be reached if the two parties aren’t talking. That’s why I joined teachers today ... and why I will keep in contact with the school board. This issue is about fairness for educators and taxpayers alike. But most importantly, this is about our children’s well being and their right to a quality education."





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