MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio – Maple Heights School District officials and representatives for striking teachers met for 15 hours straight on Wednesday and into early Thursday morning, but no significant progress was reported in the five-week old strike.
At the center of the ordeal is a money fight. Teachers want 6 percent raises, while the district insists that it doesn't have the cash for that. During the nonstop negotiations overnight, however, district officials said that union officials started to raise new questions about the verbage of other parts of a contract, such as days off and drug tests.
Maple Heights students, especially seniors at the high school, say that they're the real losers in all of this, Action News' Dawn Kendrick reported. Students, many of whom are taking proficiency tests this week, said the strike is hurting their chances of moving on to college.
"They are arguing back and forth, but the real losers in this whole situation is us, especially the seniors," Maple Heights High School senior David Jones said.
Jones said that he was a straight-A student with a 4.2 GPA at the end of last year, but now he's failing calculus.
"I got an F in physics too because it's hard to learn things when the teacher isn't a certified teacher," Jones said. "He has a degree in physics and is a real engineer but not a real teacher, so he doesn't know how to teach us."
"My art teacher isn't here and that was my ticket into college," senior Miguel Hernandez said. "I can't even go to guidance counselors about it because they're not here."
On Tuesday, many seniors organized a walkout of as many as 150 students. Many said that they participated in the walkout to put pressure on both sides to reach an agreement, so that they could concentrate on boning up for college.
"We're supposed to be working on college essays so that we are able to write them so we can get accepted," senior Shannon Urban said. "Now, we don't have English teachers to help us out.
"Those are important to get into college and into the real world, and if we can't do that, we are kind of in a hole."
"When our teachers were here, we had backup," Hernandez said. "That was our backup. Now that (the regular teachers) aren't here, we have nothing. There's nothing here.
"I'm not learning anything and a lot of my friends aren't either, and they just gave up on school and don't even like it anymore."
There are many seniors, however, who still get an A for effort.