Community Expresses Frustration With Schools Negotiations Process
The ongoing contract negotiations took center stage at Brecksville-Broadview Heights’ school board meeting Tuesday night.
The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Board of Education spent close to two hours listening to concerns and answering questions from the community during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
More than 500 people filled the middle school auditorium Tuesday night, many of them teachers wearing bright red “I don’t want to strike but I will” buttons pinned to their shirts. About 20 teachers, parents, residents—and one student—approached the board to ask their questions about the ongoing contract negotiations with the teachers and staff unions during the public comment period of the meeting. Board President David Tryon addressed the audience before that portion of the meeting began, saying the board planned to extend the allotted 30 minutes in the agenda and wanted to address people’s concerns.
The board members didn’t always have answers for the public, though, a point of frustration for some who came to the podium to speak. Some topics were matters of negotiation and couldn’t be discussed in public. Others were possibilities the board said they hadn’t planned for, like what would happen to athletics if there were a strike.
Parent Beth Tupa told the board that she hadn’t planned to speak on Tuesday, but she felt compelled to ask a question on behalf of the athletes. Tupa, who has children on football and volleyball teams, wanted to know what would happen if a head coach didn’t come to a game. She had been hearing that it was an automatic forfeit for the team.
“We need to prepare,” Tupa said.
When member Mark Dosen told her the board didn’t know what would happen, Tupa looked shocked.
“That is a cop-out,” she responded.
She wasn’t the only one unsatisfied. One student, an incoming senior, spoke to the board, asking for guidance on what would happen to extracurriculars if there was a strike or if a levy did not pass. He, too, received the response that the board hoped to reach an agreement and did not know what would happen if one was not.
“There’s no answer for you right now,” Vice President Mark Jantzen said to the student, adding that the uncertainty was caused by a number of factors, including state budgets and elections.
Superintendent Scot Prebles took a moment to say that he believed every adult in the room wanted to reach a resolution that was best for the students.
“There is no question in my mind,” Prebles said.
Other areas of concern raised by both parents and teachers were possible changes to planning time for teachers and special education. Look for more on these discussions later this week on Brecksville Patch.
All of Brecksville Patch’s contract negotiations coverage can be found on this page. For more from the meeting and for other contract negotiations updates, make sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.