Columbus City Schools one step closer to a teacher strike
A Columbus Education Association spokesperson announced this morning that the 10-day notice of intention to strike has been filed, following unproductive talks Wednesday. Although both sides expressed a willingness to meet again, no talks have been scheduled. Teachers and support staff will meet again August 21 to vote on the strike, which could begin the following day. Students are scheduled to return to August 24th.
The CEA is asking for smaller class sizes and a limit to the number of class periods per day, as well as more time planning time for teachers. The union is also asking for full-time art, music and PE, and for the district to follow through with much needed HVAC repairs.
School board president Jennifer Adair announced last week that the district proposal addressed many of those issues, with a three percent pay raise in each of the next three years, a cap on the number of students high school teachers have every day and a commitment to reduce elementary and middle school classes over the next five years. Adair says the offer also includes dedicated planning periods and introduces paid parental leave. She says supply chain issues have slowed progress replacing and repairing HVAC systems, which is being paid for with federal relief funds.
The union and the district have met 20 times since negotiations began in March.
UPDATE: In the event of a strike, students will return to remote learning. In an email this afternoon to parents, the district announced that online classes conducted by substitute teachers will start the year, along with "asynchronous", independent classes. Students will be required to attend online classes, but all extracurricular activities will be postponed or cancelled. School buildings will be closed "to ensure safety".