Columbus Schools, Teachers at Impasse; Strike Vote Scheduled Sunday

by J.D. Davidson


Teachers in Ohio’s largest school district are prepared to continue negotiations over the weekend but have scheduled a Sunday meeting for a vote on a potential strike.

After 12 hours of negotiating Thursday, the Columbus City Board of Education made what it called its final contract offer, which teachers called substantially unchanged from their most recent.

A strike, if approved by the Columbus Education Association, would begin Monday at 12:01 a.m. Students are expected back in the classroom Wednesday.

“There are only five days before students are supposed to report to classrooms, and the school board has abandoned the bargaining process for a second time,” the union said in a statement. “We remain committed to bargaining at any time but are unwavering in our fight for the schools Columbus students deserve.”

In a statement, the school board called the offer strong and responsive to teacher concerns, and the board called on union leaders to present the offer to its full membership for a vote.

“We ask that CEA present the offer fully to their members and give them an opportunity to vote on it on Aug. 21 so that our schools can open their doors to our students next week,” the statement read.

The board said its latest offer includes increased staffing for school nurses, psychologists and speech language pathologists; adding planning days for teachers in the 2024 and 2025 school years; and a commitment to have CEA at the table to address equity-based staffing.

The board’s original offer also included guaranteed base salary increases each year for three years in addition to step increases based on employee experience; a retention and recruitment bonus of $2,000; and new paid family leave that goes beyond employees’ sick leave.

The board statement said, “It is unfair to create this disruption – and we’ve brought CEA an offer that should prevent that. That is why we are asking union leaders to present this last, best, and final offer to their members and give them the ultimate say on their contract. It is our hope CEA members will seriously consider the offer, show up to vote, and start the year in their classrooms.”

As previously reported by The Center Square, if teachers strike, the district plans to open schools for students on time with remote learning using nonunion substitutes. However, after-school activities, including sports, would be canceled.

– – –

J.D. Davidson is a regular contributor to The Center Square. An Ohio native,  Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Columbus City Schools” by Columbus City Schools.


Related posts