The teachers’ strike in Strongsville has stretched most of the month of March, and after several negotiation meetings, there’s still no deal. ideastream’s Nick Castele takes a look at some of what seem to be the central issues in the dispute.
As in most public school districts, Strongsville teachers receive automatic increases in their pay over time. They agreed to freeze those pay increases in the last contract. Now they’d like to end the freeze, but the board of education wants to continue it.
In an interview two weeks ago, Superintendent John Krupinski said the schools’ budget is in trouble, and it’s not getting additional funding from the state. He said he’s already made cuts in personnel and programs.
KRUPINSKI: “If you keep cutting programs, you begin to cut to the bone of the core of what makes Strongsville an excellent school district. I mean, honors classes, Advanced Placement classes.”
There’s also been disagreement over healthcare. The board had asked teachers to pay more into their premiums, which the union has agreed to in part, but it’s unclear whether they’ve completely resolved that issue.
Those aren’t the only issues on the table, as union president Tracy Linscott reminded reporters back on March 17th.
LINSCOTT: “While there are things in our contract that are for the teachers, there are many things in our contract, such a class size and planning time, that goes toward our students and our parents.”
The school board has said the original union request would put the district $2 million over budget. The union put the cost at closer to $1.5 million, according to the Plain Dealer. The teachers say the latest proposal cuts that by about $300,000.
But after Tuesday’s session negotiating over that new proposal, both sides say they’re still at an impasse.