We’ve been covering the devastating impact of the Reynoldsburg School Board’s refusal to listen to the community’s feedback as they have been involved in “negotiations” with the district’s professional educators. The story has gained national attention for the Board’s staunch insistence to implement changes to the teachers’ contract that are direct from the Michelle Rhee and John Kasich playbooks. With a strike looming for tomorrow, the Reynoldsburg Education Association‘s negotiation team entered a final session with the school board and superintendent today at 1:00 to try and come to a reasonable resolution with the help of a federal mediator.
Sadly, it appears that the school board will not budge from their goal of trying to disparage and, ultimately, disband the teachers union. Here is the latest news release from the Reynoldsburg Education Association:
“Today, our bargaining team presented a fair, comprehensive proposal to the Board. Our proposal covered all outstanding issues and cost less than the latest board proposal. The Board countered with an offer that included several unacceptable poison pill conditions that the Board knew we would reject , including the condition that the union give up its right to strike before presenting the offer to the members. The Board’s actions have shown that they have forfeited their judgment, are not serious about reaching an agreement, and are far more interested in picking a fight. We will continue working to get the Board to accept class size limits and a means of addressing the unprecedented teacher turnover in our district. We were hopeful that an agreement could be reached today, but we need a willing partner to work with us, and the Board is still entrenched in its positions and continuing to follow the misguided direction of Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning. We will not be bullied. We will continue to fight for our students, our parents, and our community and the schools they deserve.”
The community is holding a rally on Saturday, September 20, at 11:00 am. The rally to support the teachers in their fight to establish an appropriate learning environment for their students will be held at 1520 Davidson Drive in Reynoldsburg.
Feel free to contact the leaders of the school board’s negotiations team:
Andrew Swope, Board President
(614) 864-1175 (home)
(614) 882-8297 (work)
Elaine Tornero, Board Vice President
(614) 759-9735 (home)
Reynoldsburg Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning
UPDATE: REA Press Release from September 18, 10:30 pm:
The Reynoldsburg Education Association (REA) held a general membership meeting to discuss the last, best and final offer from the Board of Education. After a full discussion, the membership voted overwhelmingly to go on strike. After the meeting, REA Spokesperson Kathy Evans issued the following statement:
“Our most recent proposal to the Board represents the best interests of our students, teachers, and taxpayers by addressing all of the outstanding issues. The Board’s demand to submit the outstanding issues to binding arbitration shirks their responsibility to negotiate a fair, reasonable contract for Reynoldsburg teachers, students, and community, by requesting an outsider to make decisions for Reynoldsburg.
That just isn’t the Reynoldsburg way, we stand up for ourselves, take responsibility, and make the tough decisions. We did not want to strike, but Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning’s refusal to accept REA’s latest proposal — which costs less than the Board’s last, best, and final offer — forced us to go on strike for the schools that Reynoldsburg students deserve. We have to fight now for the future of our students.”