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A strike looms as Euclid City teachers and school board enter final negotiation round

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 9:01 PM EST
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EUCLID, Ohio (WOIO) - Teachers in the Euclid City School District are making a final attempt Wednesday to come to an agreement with the school board on a contract.

The Euclid Teachers’ Association and the Euclid Board of Education began the latest round of contract negotiations Wednesday morning.

Last week, the ETA gave the district a 10-day strike notice, after nearly a year of failed negotiations.

Joshua Stephens, a teacher with Euclid City Schools, told 19 News that he and the other teachers in the district have being working without a contract since the start of the school year.

“We’ve reached a point now where these negotiations have gone on too long,” said Stephens on Wednesday.

Stephens said this latest round of negotiations is likely the last shot to strike an agreement to avoid going on strike.

Josh Stephens said one of the main sticking points is that teachers don’t want to be reassigned to other classes mid-year.

Meanwhile, in a recent statement the school board said its teachers are being offered one of the biggest salary increases among any school district here in Ohio.

Stephens said if negotiations falter on Wednesday then the ETA is prepared to take a formal strike vote on on February 1. He said teachers would also then hold a rally this Friday, February 28, at Euclid High School, hoping to garner community support.

If a strike begins, it would last until a contract agreement is reached, according to a previous release from the ETA.

Below is the full release:

“Euclid teachers have long been a primary stabilizing force in the lives of our students. Euclid teachers have filled the gaps when the district has failed to provide students with fundamentals such as transportation, adequate building security, and extracurricular learning and growth opportunities. We have done so out of our deep professional commitment to the improvement of the children of Euclid. But now we have been denied a contract which would have allowed us to provide the children of this community the education they deserve. And, for that reason, I will proudly walk the line until this Board comes to its senses.”

Below is the full previous release from the Euclid Board of Education:

“We are disappointed that the Euclid Teachers Association (ETA) has decided to issue a 10- day notice of its intent to strike. This only redoubles our commitment to continue bargainingin good faith to reach a contract settlement that is fair and equitable for all parties.

Our number one priority remains our students. The Board is seeking changes that promotestudent success.

The Union is fighting to keep contract language dating from the 1950′s inplace, even though changes in education over the past seven decades necessitate modernizingour contract to better ensure student success as they prepare to enter today’s world, not that ofour grandparents.

Since we began negotiations, we have offered our teachers one of the biggest salary increases and largest financial packages among any school district in Ohio.

We have done this in an effort to take care of our teachers and provide economic stability in this unprecedented pandemic-driven environment. Inexplicably, this is still a point of contention with the ETA. With this substantial wage increase, Euclid teachers’ salary will be competitive with districts in Northeast Ohio and across the state.

In addition, the ETA wrongly states that the board of education “seeks the power to arbitrarily reassign teachers to different classrooms or different teaching assignments at any point in the school year for any reason.”

In fact, we are talking about the ability of a principal to assign a small portion of high school teachers within their building – fewer than 20 teachers out of teaching staff of 120 – to courses within the department they currently teach in a collaborativeprocess taking into consideration teachers’ preferences, rather than the union’s unilateral control over all course assignments. This suggested language supports the district’s broader goal of improving student outcomes while honoring teacher choice. For example, a teacherhired to teach Social Studies may be assigned to teach American History instead of Government after a teacher-principal collaborative process.

Over the last ten months, we have taken important steps toward providing a more progressive and successful education experience for our students and parents, including reorganizing ourschool district, addressing the learning challenges our students experienced amid the COVID pandemic, improving mental health services and special education, bolstering career pathwaysfor our students and more. We must continue this positive momentum, and we are taking all steps necessary to assure that we will continue to help our students succeed academically andin life after graduation. We appreciate the community’s support, and we look forward to reaching an agreement with our teachers.”

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