UPDATED: School Board Declares an Impasse on Contract Negotiations with Teachers, Staff

The negotiations will be turned over to a federal mediator.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association.

The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Board of Education has declared an impasse in the contract negotiations with teachers and staff and will turn the negotiations over to a federal mediator, according to a press release from the board.

The contracts for the teachers and staff unions expire on June 30. According to the release, all July negotiations sessions have now been cancelled so that the mediator’s schedule can be accommodated. The full release can be found on the school board's Negotiation News website.

The negotiations have been the subject of much controversy in the past few months. The board decided early on to make , publishing the contract proposals from both sides, and to display their displeasure with the process.

In the release, Board President David Tryon said that the board is disappointed, but that they need to make progress toward a resolution.

Updated, 10 a.m.

Crisis chair Ben Lesh said the association is "extraordinarily disappointed" in the board's decision and that handing the negotiations over to a federal mediator has not happened while he has been with the district. Lesh added that mediators have been used to work out smaller sections of contracts.

This round of negotiations has been unpredictable since the start, beginning with the launch of the board's website. The association thought that could be a violation of the expectation to negotiate in good faith.

"They're making up the rules as they go along," Lesh said.

Lesh said he hopes the process will move along quickly now, and that he has faith in the negotiations process.

Editor's note: Lesh's statement on whether there has been use of a federal mediator in the recent past has been clarified.


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Kevin July 17, 2012 at 02:46 AM
lynn, I will make this brief - and thank you for not attacking me or my profession. Teachers do not punch a time clock either, and I will not go on the rant that others have earlier in this post, but teachers work beyond the regular 8 hour work day too. I appreciate your civil comments and understand where you are coming from. Thank you again for being rational in your argument - but please understand my side too.
Dathan Cole July 17, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Edward, I appreciate that you work hard and many hours. I understand where the perception and calculation of teachers' hours comes from too. You mentioned that your calculations didn't include work on your own time, and I need to point out that the same is true for your calculation of teachers' time. A trial lawyer doesn't work only in the courtroom, a salesman doesn't work only during a sales presentation, and a teacher doesn't work only during class time. Planning time during the day is consumed with giving extra help, administering make-up work and tests, attending meetings with parents, guidance counselors and administrators, waiting in line to make copies, returning phone calls and emails, etc. Everything else falls outside of the day and on our own time. I get requests for about 20 letters of recommendation each year, and it takes at least an hour to do a good one. Preparing material for daily lessons can take hours too. It is like a salesman preparing a presentation to their most important client everyday. Then there is grading, data entry, maintaining web pages, re-writing courses of study and more. Grading alone is significant. I have had recent student loads as high as 183 but 165 is a more representative average. It takes about 5 minutes to grade one exam so almost 14 hours outside the day.
Dathan Cole July 17, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Part 2 To be fair I don't give tests every week, but I do have other assignments that when taken together require about the same amount of time. Starting at your 1295, if you divide 185 by a 5 day work week and multiply by the 14 hours of grading, you get 1813. Again, this value ignores additional lesson preparation. I don't hope to change anyone's mind, but I would like to see civil discussions.
Charlie Hayes July 17, 2012 at 06:19 AM
I spent the first 18 years of my life Brecksville, 13 in BBHCSD K-12 during which I felt betrayed by the poor quality of the educators in the system. I have since grown up and now appreciate how good my education actually was. Except for a few bad apples and what I can only assume are terribly short-sighted policies mandated by either the BoE, state, or federal governments, BBHCSD is actually quite good. The level headedness of the replies from the teachers despeite the onslaught of negativity from the opposition should be recognized by the community members; and the remarkably irrational comments apparently made by "adults" living in the community I grew up in should also be recognized. I'm surprised by the uproar the community is in regarding teacher compensation. Might it make more sense to target that energy at state and federal education-policy makers arguably ruining your children's lives? Its remarkable that community members continue to hide behind a wall of entitlement regarding their 'private sector jobs'. It is embarrassing to belong to a society where the hard work and dedication of a group of professionals that legitimately contribute to the greater good are compared negatively to what I can only guess (due to their continued nondisclosure) are the selfish and apparently unrewarding non-contributions made by the vocal majority.
Charlie Hayes July 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Teachers: Is what Ronnie said true?
Lenore L. July 17, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Before school let out my son was told by HS teachers they were striking. They would vote on the 16th and strike on the 27th, two days before school starts. He has been told that he should get his parents to pressure the board to settle because unless there is a settlement he will not get required college recommendation letters written by teachers so he won't be able to early apply to the college of his choice. It just makes me sick the teachers are getting the kids in panic mode. Even this am, I am told HS teachers are organizing shirt colors for the school board meeting today. Teachers will wear white, kids are to wear red. The kids are afraid to not do what the teachers want because they are afraid they will be penalized during grading periods. It is just so wrong. I am half ready to file a cease and desist on behalf of my son against the teachers/union for emotional blackmail.
Dathan Cole July 17, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Thank you too. I am just not sure what difference it makes in the end since we are salaried and the work has to get done one way or another. If the "work day" is expanded to 8 hours my yearly hours improve in the calculation but I'm not really doing any more than I already do. The only thing that I can see that would be different is where the works get done.
Frank July 17, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Lenore, I feel so sorry for you... I can't imagine what your son must be thinking of his teacher. But this is nothing new our kids have been used for years... Everytime there is a levy they threaten cuts that will hurt parents and their kids, cut busing, cut AP, pay motre and more to play or participate all the while getting pay raises. I have children in the system and I am sick of it. Take a look at the signs on the front of Central School they refer to the kids again... Try to find out who is on the Issues Committee and who is giving them their money? Don't feel bad Lenore you will appreciate this one. My son got off the bus in 2008...at the corner of my street. As usual I asked him how his day was... He responds as follows" My teacheer told me to tell you to vote for Obama..... she told me you owed it to him because he was a slave...... You should send your above thoughts to the Scot Prebles...... What an outrage, this is what the mafia does "intimidate" Hang in there Lenore you are in my prayers
Charlie Hayes July 17, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Frank: When I was in the school system teachers were very careful not to express their personal political views and encouraged critical thinking on the issues. Are you sure your son wasn't trying to push your buttons?
lyn July 17, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Dathan- Here's a book you could add to your summer reading list. Its an older one, and you may have already read it. But its worth rereading and it is an easy read. I would suggest other teachers read it as well. Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Rachel Abbey McCafferty (Editor) July 18, 2012 at 03:32 AM
I know emotions are running high on this issue, but let's keep it clean. Profanity is not allowed in our Terms of Use, which can be found here: http://brecksville.patch.com/terms A comment was deleted for violating this.
Frank July 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Charlie good morning He was to young to know what he was saying......his comments were backed up by my neighbors boy who is older, Joey, he told me his teacher had said something similar. I called the school... it happened... but what happened to Lenores son is unforgiveable...I am going to contact the Justice Department today, this is not the only incident I have heard. Teachers threatening students is criminal... no other way to put it. The mafia did the same thing and still does..... I have children in the system can you imagine what I am thinking.... I read it this way. "Shut up and vote for my pay raise or I will hurt your children by flunking them or refusing to write them a letter of reccomendation or something else" Charlie what a disgrace...If you are a teacher I would distance myself from your fellow teachers....ASAP....
Nicole July 18, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Frank: Safe to say that none of us with a brain can possibly know what you are thinking, on this or any other topic. What I am pretty sure of is you can't personally afford to support the district financially because you spend so much time posting your hatred on this site. I wonder how you and your son, Charlie were ever able to shop at Heinen's.......but Giant Eagle it is from now on.
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Charlie, I am not a teacher, but I did attend the most recent board meeting (not the one Ronnie referred to), and I can certainly assure you that there was no "circus-like" atmosphere or chanting. There was some booing from other community members (not teachers and not students) sitting around me. I believe statement about "frivolously spending precious taxpayer dollars" referred to the board's collaboration with Huffmaster's, a strike security firm. They spend $762 for one day of consultation, and as I understand, this happened after only 5 negotiation sessions and before the teacher's union even took the vote necessary to authorize a strike. As far as the teacher's strike being a threat used to intimidate children and get more money out of the community--that does not fairly represent the situation. I'm running out of room in this post, so I will continue below with the reasons the BEA has given as to why they voted to authorize a strike (IF necessary) with a 99.5% majority.
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 03:19 PM
"The Association took the vote because the Board's actions forced them to believe the district plans to unilaterally implement a contract, a choice that will skip the negotiations process altogether. A unilaterally implemented contract would ignore the collective bargaining process and force the teachers in the district to accept the Board’s imposed terms and conditions of employment. The Association further believes that this unprecedented move by the Board is imminent because of the following facts: • When Mark Dosen and Mike Ziegler were elected to the Board, they immediately fired the Board’s long standing and respected legal counsel and hired one known for strong-armed tactics that lead to labor chaos. • The Board began negotiating a successor agreement through the public by unlawfully posting initial proposals and seeking public comments. • After less than five days of initial negotiations, the Board contracted with Huffmasters, a strike security firm, and paid them $762 of precious taxpayer money for just one day of consultation. • At the end of the school year, the Superintendent directed employees to turn in teaching materials, prompting teachers to clear out personal possessions from their classroom.
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 03:19 PM
• The Board ended good faith negotiations prematurely by declaring impasse before all issues in the initial proposals were discussed. This came just one day after reassuring the community that they were committed to bargaining in good faith. Impasse is the first step in the process of forcing a contract on the teachers. • Just two days after forcing impasse, the Board began to advertise for scab replacement substitutes to steal work from highly qualified, experienced and educated employees. Furthermore, despite already engaging in illegal public negotiations, the Board has attempted to coerce, intimidate and muzzle the voices of employees by filing frivolous Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against individual teachers. The Association estimates that each ULP filed will cost the taxpayers between $10,000 - $20,000 each."
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 03:40 PM
lyn, I understand what you are saying, that teachers in poor districts get paid less and work under worse conditions. But you have to realize that most of the schools in poor districts do much worse on average on standardized tests, have lower graduation rates, and usually have worse conditions for the students to learn in such as outdated technology, old books, and large classroom sizes, just to name a few. This is NOT because the kids are any less intelligent or deserving than the kids in affluent districts: it is simply because the schools have less money. So if the Brecksville-Broadview Heights community wishes to reduce the pay of teachers and the money our school has to the level of poorer communities, you must understand that the quality of our schools will also decrease to the level of poorer communities. You asked "do you see any high paid teachers in poor areas?" If you pay our teachers the same as teachers in inner city Cleveland are paid, then you will lose them. Their replacements will be willing to be paid a lower salary, but will they have the same experience and quality of our current teachers? Then our kids will have to struggle harder to get high test scores and get into good colleges. This will not help the poorer communities one bit, but it will certainly hurt our community and our kids, at the price of being "fair." In your opinion, our teachers are overpaid, but in my opinions, the teachers in less affluent districts are underpaid.
Nicole July 18, 2012 at 03:46 PM
and to add to Michelle's comments......the board's "trust me" response wore thin early on and at the root of their plan is their own greed and "we know better" attitude. These board members actively campaigned against the last new money levy. Former board member Dosen never valued the district or its teachers and is probably ecstatic at seeing the turmoil he started when he was on the board. Hand picking and prodding his buddies, the current board members have orchestrated a crisis by their own admission. According to the current board, no consideration was given to trying the new money levy again before getting the teachers to pony up big givebacks from their side. Current member Dosen talks about 3 means of closing the current funding gap, but fails to mention that the board took 2 of the 3 items off the table, effectively making the budget shortfall the teacher's problem exclusively. At the board meeting last night, he stated the obvious.....the more we get from one area, the less we need to get from the other 2........so the board, not the voters this time have pinned their hopes on pushing the teachers into a corner to take large salary reductions, large increases in benefit contributions, while the State increases their mandatory contributions to their retirement fund and by the way, you have less planning time for your students, the administration can decide where you will work and when and with whom......... more'
Nicole July 18, 2012 at 03:55 PM
and if Mr. Tryon said one more time how many changes the union has put forward compared to the number from the board......first, does he think that comments like that encourage healthy dialogue with the union? If this guy is a trial lawyer.........well, enough said......second.....it's not the number of changes, it's the scope and impact of the changes. 50 far reaching, potentially damaging changes proposed by the board are far reaching in their ability to destroy and negatively impact students, but for some reason....Mr. Tryon continues to attempt to draw comparisons strickly by the numbers. Why? Because he's trying to create the illusion that the union is dumping on the poor board, they've got lots more changes......but by everyone's admission, little if any progress appears to be taking place on most of the topics raised at the meeting.....so exactly what are they talking about? And where is Scot Prebles in all this? Safe to say that if the board wanted him involved, he would be on the negotiating team......but as the only person sitting on the stage with real world education experience and a vested interest in getting something done, he sits quietly by while the district burns. Very odd.
Charlie Hayes July 18, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I'm not a teacher and I don't live in Ohio any longer ;)
Charlie Hayes July 18, 2012 at 04:58 PM
What?? I have no affiliation with Frank. And What's wrong with Heinen's?
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Charlie, A man (I'm assuming Frank) spoke at the last board meeting, saying that he was Charlie's dad. Then he said that a lot of families he knew were having to make sacrifices because of the bad economy, and that some people had to transition from shopping at Heinen's to shopping at Giant Eagle. So I think Nicole is talking about that, and not you :)
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 07:55 PM
lyn, Would you be willing to take a salary cut because the public thinks you are overpaid, regardless of the quality of your work? Would you stay at the same company (or wherever you work), doing the same things, after being treated that way? I wouldn't.
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 07:57 PM
And to clarify, there should be reasonable limits on salaries in any profession (I'm looking at you, bank CEOs!) If our former AP calculus teacher can get paid more money to teach 7th grade math in another district, then we are clearly not even close to overpaying our teachers.
Michelle Williams July 18, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Nicole, I also noticed that Mr. Tryon kept bringing up how many changes the board vs. the BEA had made to the contract. I thought the same things you did!
True July 19, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Is lyn a stya at home mom with no refernce to reality? Is she a jantsen stooge? Is she Gregory Jantzen? is she Frank? Is Frank lyn. Has lyn ever had a rela job? Does lyn hdave any education? She is articaultate but does she ever leave home? Why does lyn hagte teachers? Why is Frank not have a wife? Is Franks a brecksviell or broadview hts. man? HoW mny kisa doeas Frank have? Why does frankd hatg teachers? Answers/ I need answers!!!!!!!!!1
lyn July 19, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Why not ask if Lyn is a guy or gal's name - as it could be either. But, how about actually short for something else, like Mike is for Michael, or like Tony is for Anthony. Maybe its short for Lyndon, or Evelyn, or Marilyn? True- your post should be deleted, just like all the others.
Ann July 19, 2012 at 03:08 AM
I asked Tryon about Prebles through email. This is what TRYON said, " Mr Prebles was deeply involved in preparing the Board proposal. He continues to be involved in the negotiation process. He is not at the "table" because that process is very time consuming and the district needs it's executive officer working on administrative matters and interacting with the teachers. Mr. Prebles agreed with this approach." I am not sure if it is true or not. I don't believe what Tryon and Dosen say. They are set on their agenda and have their hands over their ears while making condescending comments to all that speak. Their little smirks say it all along with their comments. Yes I agree that is ALL Tryon offered were numbers on the language corrections the union made. Like he doesn't have time to deal and read it. Guess what buddy you signed on for it, so get to it. This Board is a joke. Prebles has his hands tied and is no doubt wishing he never set foot in our community. It is a shame because he is a good man.
Donald August 08, 2012 at 10:32 AM
True we need Frank to re enter the conversation......whats life with out a whipping boy lol


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