CEA meets Sunday to vote on whether to strike

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The first day of school for CCS students is scheduled for August 24. Plans are in place for students to start the school year remotely if teachers vote to strike.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After months of negotiations, members of the Columbus Education Association (CEA) will meet Sunday to vote on whether the group could go on strike.

The vote comes after the union has met with the Columbus Board of Education 22 times in the past five months, which has not resulted in a new agreement.

The CEA will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. If the group votes to strike, it will take effect immediately.

Columbus City schools are scheduled to begin the 2022-23 school year on Wednesday.

The district offered plans for the school year ahead of a potential strike, giving details of a remote learning plan with full-time substitutes providing instruction. Additional details of the school district’s plans are available on their website.

The union and the teachers’ council last met on Thursday for about 12 hours.

Following the meeting, CEA spokeswoman Regina Fuentes said there was no movement from the board to reduce class sizes, provide teachers of art, music and full-time physical education at the elementary level, or ensuring that our students have a functioning HVAC system in every building.

“CEA is disappointed that the school board has again distanced itself from our students. CEA remains committed to negotiating the learning conditions Columbus students deserve,” Fuentes said.

The district presented its latest offer to the CEA in a press release published on Saturday evening.

The terms of the council’s offer can be read below:

A guarantee of more money for teachers and all CEA members

  • Guaranteed increases of 3% per year for three years.

  • A retention and recruitment bonus of $2,000 per CAOT member.

  • At the end of the contract, a teacher who in the most recent school year earned the district average salary of $74,000 will earn more than $91,000, a 23% increase since the start of the contract. .

  • Entry-level teachers will earn more than $50,000 in the first year of the contract — with that salary growing rapidly from guaranteed annual raises.

A commitment to solving air conditioning problems

  • A letter attached to the last, best, and final offer specifies that the school board has contracted and/or committed funds to install air conditioning in each school except for Mifflin Middle School, which has air center in approximately 50% of the building and is targeted for replacement with a new college in the district’s proposed facilities master plan.

A commitment to early grades K-5

  • K-5 class sizes will begin to be reduced in 2022-23 with no classes larger than 28 students, and class sizes will continue to be reduced until the maximum class size is 27 .

A Creative Take on Paid Leave for New Parents

  • The Commission offers paid family leave never before available. For the biological parent and in the case of adoptions and foster placements, the teacher may take 30 days off. And much of that paid time off can be taken without using sick leave.

More help for students from more specialists

  • The latest, best, and final offer includes an agreement — technically called a memorandum of understanding — to hire 25 additional full-time nurses, behavioral specialists, school psychologists and speech pathologists in fiscal years 2024 and 2025. The agreement also specifies that the 25 new employees will be members of the CEA.

More time for teachers to plan

  • A deal in the latest, best and final offer gives teachers a day dedicated to planning, with out-of-school students, for each of the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years. Teachers can work remotely that day, and planning days are scheduled to provide a four-day weekend in February each school year.

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