Garfield Heights City Schools ‘disappointed’ by potential strike

“Such a tactic does nothing to fulfill our community-oriented mission statement and disrupts the overall learning process.”
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 4:57 PM EDT
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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - The Garfield Heights Teachers’ Association is just one vote away from possibly going on a 10-day strike if they don’t agree with the district on a new contract.

The looming 10-day strike comes after the unanimous vote by the union to authorize its notice.

Garfield Heights City Schools said its disappointed teachers are threatening to do this.

“The Garfield Heights Teachers Association, we are really standing for this safety, stability, and success for our students and that is the one thing we are really working towards,” Susan Hart, spokesperson for GHTA said.

The district said it’s “disappointed in the surprising maneuver.”

“Such a tactic does nothing to fulfill our community-oriented mission statement and disrupts the overall learning process,” Garfield Heights City Schools said.

Hart said she doesn’t want to see more teachers leaving the district, even if they’re the lowest paid in Cuyahoga County.

The school board said it’s compromised on several issues important to teachers, including pay and turnover.

“Additionally, the Board’s negotiating team has compromised on several important issues, such as increasing the financial package, recognizing staff committed to long-term employment with the district, and adjusting the pay associated with period substitutions, indicating a willingness to continue discussions,” the school district said.

The district said the threat to strike is a distraction that hurts the students, but Hart said they’re negotiating this contract with the students in mind.

Both parties hope to come to a fair agreement soon.

“When you have a stable school district everything just gets more positive and then of course if we have that stability of teachers staying here and the kids wanting to be here and the kids being happy to be here then that safety and success just comes with it,” Hart said.

Garfield Heights City Schools sent a statement to 19 News with their full response:

“The top priority of the Garfield Heights City Schools is to uphold our mission to prepare students to pursue their dreams and give back as engaged citizens and future leaders. That is why the Board of Education and district administration were disappointed in the surprising maneuver late this past Friday afternoon, when GHTA voted to authorize a 10-day notice to strike. Such a tactic does nothing to fulfill our community-oriented mission statement and disrupts the overall learning process. Since negotiations began in April 2022 - despite a summer break when GHTA refused to negotiate - the negotiating teams have met on no fewer than 10 separate occasions and have reached tentative agreements on more than 12 articles impacting the current contract. Some of these issues include language around teacher evaluations, employee discipline, and student discipline. Additionally, the Board’s negotiating team has compromised on several important issues, such as increasing the financial package, recognizing staff committed to long-term employment with the district, and adjusting the pay associated with period substitutions, indicating a willingness to continue discussions. These points, in addition to the fact that the Board’s negotiating team recently reached a contract agreement with our classified union (OAPSE), finds GHTA’s decision to authorize a 10-day notice as a mere distraction, one that hurts students and does nothing to collaboratively seek compromise. The Garfield Heights City Schools is dedicated to the negotiating process and re-asserts its willingness to reach a fair contract with all parties, while operating within the financial realities of the district.”

This story is ongoing and will be updated as more details are released.