A teacher strike in the Columbus City Schools seems to have been averted, just two weeks before school is scheduled to start.
The Columbus Education Association is reporting that a "conceptual agreement" was reached with the district around 2 this morning, after 17 straight hours of talks.
Contract talks reached an impasse early this summer, before the two sides took a mediator-recommended "cooling-off" break. The CEA is asking for increased pay, smaller class sizes, and increased stability for art and music programs, among other issues. The union also called on the district and city council to end tax abatements to big corporations, a practice they say takes money out of the classrooms at a time taxpayers are expected to pay their share for education.
Rank-and-file union members earlier this summer authroized union leaders to call a strike. The school district responded by hiring an organization to make contingency plans and hire support staff to keep schools open during a possible strike.
No details have been released on the "conceptual agreement" worked out this morning. Any package will have to be approved by union members, then approved by the Columbus City Schools Board.