School Board Plans to Look for Substitute Teachers to Work in Case of a Strike
Update: The union said they have not indicated any plans to strike.
The Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District today announced its intentions to look for substitute teachers who could work in the event of a possible strike.
According to a press release from the district, the school board feels that the teachers union has indicated that a strike is possible if a contract agreement is not reached by the start of school.
Superintendent Scot Prebles said in the release that the district will be advertising for substitute teachers in local newspapers and online. Applications can be submitted online.
David Tryon, president of the board, said in the release that only the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association can cause a work stoppage. The board cannot “lockout” the teachers from their classrooms, a fear that was expressed by the teachers earlier this month.
As of June 8, the union had not taken out a strike authorization, but President Bonnie Monteleone said the union had been talking to members about their rights. In a press release sent out by the union on Thursday, Crisis Chair Ben Lesh stated that the association is committed to the bargaining process, but that the board’s recent actions seem to be forcing members into a strike.
Update, 1:55 p.m. According to a press release sent by the association on Friday, they have not indicated that they have plans to strike. A longer update can be found below.
Late on Wednesday, the school board announced that it was handing the contract negotiations over to a federal mediator. The contracts for the teacher and staff unions expire on June 30. Tryon said in an email that the board will honor the previous contract, including pay increases, until a new one is approved. He added that the board hopes the negotiations will move quickly and effectively with a mediator and noted that the mediator cannot force a contract on either party.
“As always, our goal is quality education, fiscal responsibility and fairness to the employees,” Tryon said in the email.
The negotiations have been the source of much contention during the past few months. The board decided early on to make the proposals public—a decision that the union questions—and teachers have been turning out in large numbers at the board meetings to show their displeasure.
Update, 1:10 p.m.
Tryon said the district will also draw on existing substitute teachers if there is a strike, but those teachers are welcome to reapply to make sure they are on the list. The board's goal is to ensure that they have a group of qualified teachers if they are needed.
Update, 1:55 p.m.
The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association has issued a press release in response to the board’s announcement. According to the release, the association has not indicated that they have plans to strike. The association is “committed to reaching a fair and equitable agreement,” according to the release.
The association is disappointed in the board’s decision, and the release called the decision “reckless,” and “terribly detrimental to the best interests of the students and parents.”