Ohio

Eye on Education

Strongsville Teachers Strike

M.L. Schultze / WKSU

Strongsville teachers picket while mostly empty buses drop students off at school. The strike officially started at midnight on March 4, 2013.

After union contract negotiations came to a standstill last week, Strongsville’s 385 teachers, guidance counselors and other members of the Strongsville Education Association have opted to strike.

The teachers union and the school board have been in negotiations since June, but talks broke down early this year. Teachers say they made concessions in their last contract, including wage freezes, and are unwilling to forego their step-increases again. Instead, they want to see a one percent pay increase on top of restored step-increases.

How much teachers should pay for health care and dental insurance is also in dispute.

School administrators say they’re facing a $6 million budget hole, and cannot do better than the “last-best” offer proposed last week. (Here’s the unions last-best offer.)

WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports the teachers say they want to resume negotiations, but Strongsville Superintendent John Krupinski says he hasn’t heard that.

In any case, he says, the administration doesn’t have anything else to bring to the table other than its last offer.

“We’ve had unfunded mandates. Our revenues are decreasing. We must remain in the black, and therefore we have a very fair proposal on the table that has some concessions, especially in health care because health-care costs are staggering.”

And Kabir Bhatia of WKSU reports that many parents have opted to keep their children home while substitute and temporary teachers fill the classrooms during the strike.

Parents like April Boros still aren’t sending their kids to school today.

“I have an 11-year-old that has an IEP (individual education plan), and he has a medical condition. These people coming in here are not going to know how to deal with this medical condition. Or his IEP. So he will be staying home.”

This strike has been a long time coming.

The Sun News has a timeline of negotiations. Over the past seven months, teachers have silently protested at school board meetings, and loudly protested against substitute teachers at the local police stations.

Some teachers have said the board’s refusal to give in to pay increases is reminiscent of SB 5, or Senate Bill 5. That was the measure passed by the Ohio legislature, and later repealed by voters, that aimed to curb public employee unions’ collective bargaining rights. Other community members say SB 5 would have prevented this strike.

This is the first time in five years that an Ohio teachers union went on strike. The last time was in 2008 in Newton Falls, when teachers went on strike for four days, largely because of disagreements over pay.

Topics

Comments

  • cannon

    We gave you SB 5 and this is how you thank us teachers. I really don’t think a levy will pass in strongsville for a long time and I hope the school board does not give you what you want and you all lose your jobs to the subs.

    • duckmonkeyman

      I think you mean the repeal of SB5. The reality is that the teachers funded the repeal, but it was the firefighters who were the face of the issue. My bet is you weren’t much of a supporter of teachers before SB5.

  • Sue

    Wah wah wah…get back to work. I wonder how many of these so-called teachers voted for Obama. When the economy is in the tank, the funds dry up. When the funds dry up, so do the pay increases. It’s simple math. Didn’t the president tell people to expect to make sacrifices under his “leadership”?

    • rhetorical

      Did you miss the pay freezes in their contracts since 2007?

      • clroger

        Ya THEY/you finally milked the taxpayer dry, NO MORE MONEY!!!!!!

      • abbypatch

        and you must have missed the number of unemployed. Who pays the teacher’s salary. TAXPAYERS, that’s who. No job, no money. Or did you miss the economics classes?

        Money does not grow on trees as the Obama administration would like to you believe.

    • duckmonkeyman

      So you are the “STFU and teach” jackboot on the throat crowd?

      • clroger

        Here is the lurking union minion, nothing intelligent her folks.

  • clroger

    over paid cry babies

    • http://www.facebook.com/ohiofreebird Michelle Webster

      Do the math. If teachers were even paid babysitters’ wages, with no consideration for their numerous degrees and the work they do with students, they would still be severely underpaid.

      • Colin

        How many baby sitters get $65,000 + pension for three quarters the amount of days everyone else works? This isnt inner city Cleveland, its white collar, suburban Strongsville.

        • rhetorical

          so since you asked —
          Teachers’ hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or 10 months a year. It’s time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do – babysit. We can get that for less than minimum wage.

          That’s right. Let’s give them $3 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan– that equals 6 1/2 hours).

          Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day…maybe 30? So that’s $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

          However, remember they only work 180 days a year. I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

          LET’S SEE…That’s $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on. My calculator needs new batteries.)

          What about those special education teachers and the ones with master’s degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

          Wait a minute — there’s something wrong here. There sure is.

          The average teacher’s salary (nationwide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student– a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)

          • clroger

            bla bla blaaaaaaa

          • duckmonkeyman

            troll

          • clroger

            turd

          • Bob

            Is this some kind of Obama math? I bin tryin to learn it

          • duckmonkeyman

            You ain’t bin learns you much, have you?

          • clroger

            waaaa go back to the Union Hall

          • Brian G.

            Apparently you have no idea what teacher’s due. First of all, how would you like your raise to be voted upon by the voting public? Teacher’s bring home hours of homework, tests, etc.. to grade everyone night in addition to preparing lesson plans for the next day. Did I also mention writing recommendation letters for seniors, now teachers are going to be required to write IEP’s for every student. I could go on and on….

          • clroger

            waaaaaa

      • clroger

        waaaaaaaa

  • Supportive Mom of 3

    I support the teachers 100%. If we aren’t going to give the people who take care of our children the dignity and respect that they deserve, what does that say about our society? No teacher ever said, “I do this for the money”, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a fair wage and good working conditions. My children will be home-schooled until this is over (which I hope is soon).

    • http://www.facebook.com/ohiofreebird Michelle Webster

      The sooner, the better. I truly admire Strongsville’s teachers for their courage and determination. Makes me think of the Billy Elliot song “Solidarity Forever,” and Newsies is another excellent show on the topic of the history of labor.

    • clroger

      Oh please -they do not work on water, they teach simple reading, writing and arithmetic A parent can do it.

      • rhetorical

        all they do? Please.

        http://www.jamievollmer.com/poster.html

        Here’s a list of all the things added to a teacher’s job over the last 100 years. Look how much has been in the last 30.

        • clroger

          You must be one of of Obama’s online army sent to refute, intimidate and otherwise annoy TAXPAYERS!

      • duckmonkeyman

        I lost count of the number of home schooled students dumped back into the classroom who cannot add fractions, think the first president was Thomas Jefferson, or the age of Earth is 10,000 years. I have deep respect for parents who CAN home school, bit they are a small percentage. Home schooling takes time, energy, and commitment, not to mention enough content knowledge to be able to explain the concepts. It is not enough to show HOW to evaluate algebraic equations if you don’t know group theory as the reason WHY. I can show the quadratic formula, but do you think it is important to know the concepts to derive it? Throw in a learning disability or behavioral issue and home schooling becomes exponentially more difficult.

        • clroger

          yOU ARE CLEARLY A LURKING oBAMa, Union Minion, go away now.

        • abbypatch

          …and I cannot count the number of school students who cannot read and understand what they read, write cursive, or do arithmetic without the use of a calculator or cash register telling them how much change to give…and even then, they get it wrong. I cannot count the number of school students who don’t know geography, the history of our country, and word definitions. They are so hyped up on political correctness and liberal teachings, it’s pathetic.

          Teachers are so worried about their wages and benefits, they have forgotten how to teach the students.

    • abbypatch

      So, where is the dignity in the flyers they are placing all over town with substitute teacher names, addresses and phone #? You support them doing this 100%? I find it very disrespectful and disgusting. After all, weren’t most teachers substitute teachers before getting their foot in the door?

      Tell me, how and when did teachers decide to lower themselves to no better than scum in using these hate tactics for their fellow teachers? Where’s the dignity in that? Despicable.

  • Jen

    Whoever thinks teachers are overpaid needs a reality check. I guarantee you that the average person couldn’t handle their job. Become close friends with a teacher and maybe your eyes will be opened. You have no idea of what they have to do and put up with. It’s no easy job…..especially nowadays.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ohiofreebird Michelle Webster

      Absolutely.

    • Colin

      Teachers in general are not overpaid. These particular teachers of strongsville city school district are getting 65,000 a year + pension for 185 days of work. I’m sure there are plenty of well qualified, experienced, good teachers out there that would flock to the opportunity for that amount of compensation.

      These teachers are the ones that need a reality check. The school board and the city simply do not have the money to give the teachers what they are asking for. If they don’t like it…go look for another job at the end of the year, don’t go on strike 2 months before the end of the year, when the high school seniors are trying to do well on standardized tests, and get into colleges, etc.

      • rhetorical

        185 (state mandated minimum – many work more) clock hour days of 10-12 hours, plus months of required and unfunded in-service learning to maintain a license, plus writing recommendations, scholarship applications and hosts of other non-required work. In the end, teachers typically have 5 weeks vacation and long hours through the year.

        • Bob

          Wow only 5 weeks of vacation. And 15 sick days. And they have to bring work home? We don’t know how you do it.

    • clroger

      Oh please- I substitute teach so I know your lying Shut up and go to work or I will take your job for half the money!

      • rhetorical

        I’ve never seen such a confident scab.

        • clroger

          Well ya if you spent any time in the classroom YOU would know!

          • duckmonkeyman

            Clroger. Troll post and not true.

          • clroger

            How would you know ASSman

    • Bob

      How do you guarantee people couldn’t handle it? Is there some kind of magic the Union teaches you? Every job has its challenges. My wife has dedicated herself to the YMCA for 23 years. Supervises 40 people. Works 55 hrs a week. Deals with every inconsiderate situation you could imagine.
      Bachelors Degree. Trains YMCA classes all over the state. Is paid 38 k. 23 years. Probably less money than a 3rd year math teacher. And she works all summer.
      And ask any waitress, who is the worst tippers? Teachers.

      • duckmonkeyman

        Why didn’t she become a teacher?

        • clroger

          because YOU were there, who the heck would want to work with vindictive, selfish little criminals?

    • clroger

      When did the fact that the “average” person could not handle the job matter. A teacher could not build a bridge with me but I can and do teach.

      The measure of how much a job pays is measured by supply and demand. Not by your arbitrary ” how hard it is for the “average person”.

      Go back to school and this time take finance and economics class.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ohiofreebird Michelle Webster

    More and more is expected of teachers every year – academic teacher, social worker, counselor, surrogate parent, coach, career adviser, after school tutor, and remember to be prepared for violent acts at a moment’s notice. The wages come down as the stakes go up, but the educators’ dedication to children stands firm, so let’s pay them and not short-change them.

    • clroger

      Waaaaaa all working people are being ask to do more and more- GeT OVER IT!

    • abbypatch

      Thought coach, career adviser, after school tutor were all voluntary activities? Don’t volunteer for one of those activities if you don’t want to help the students. Let’s not try to believe the dedication to children…that’s brainwash talk that comes from union representatives.

      Teachers are not short-changed. They got what they wanted for years. They are now being asked to chip in and have some common sense in this economy,.but do they? Nope. They want more and more.

      Many taxpayers have not gotten a raise in their pay for 5-6 years. Their healthcare costs have gone up, even doubled in some cases, and their deductibles have doubled. Yet most teachers still expect the taxpayers to pay for their healthcare and pensions without a teacher’s contribution. Get real.

  • zircon777

    Last time I checked this is still a free country. If teachers are so underpaid and have it so bad, then quit. With Master’s Degrees and being very highly skilled I’m sure they will have no trouble finding another job that pays better in today’s economy.

    • duckmonkeyman

      I think you are correct. Most teachers I know can motivate a roster of 200 teenagers who view high school as a social experience punctuated by curriculum. They are more organized than any CEO. They often have to sell difficult concepts in math or language arts to a skeptical customer base of students and parents better than any sales person – with no commission. They are master politicians balancing ridiculous mandates from an ignorant legislature and clueless public yet upholding the principals of fairness, free speech, and a love of democracy. Teachers navigate more rules and regulations than a lawyer. They deal with more personality disorders than a psychologist. The good ones answer emails day and night and work long hours outside the classroom. So I like your idea! HR, you want quality job candidates, start recruiting teachers.

  • timtheenchanter

    OK How about we take away the teachers Defined Benefit Obligation (Pension) and replace it with a 401K where they take on the risk of their retirement and not the taxpayer…do that and give them a raise.

    • rhetorical

      Taxpayers are not on the hook for the risk, the STRS board manages that money. The difference between a 401k and a pension is not the contribution or the liability, but that one has amateurs managing the money and the other has professionals paid by the fund. Your proposal would save nothing and would only serve to add volatility to someone else’s livelihood.

    • duckmonkeyman

      Nobody complains about 401ks when the market does well. Plus teachers do not receive social security plus spousal SS benefits are reduced under WEP. If you like pensions better, why not become a teacher?

      • clroger

        tHE uNION GIVE THE JOB OF LuRKING HERE ?

  • Ted

    How can students and parents respect teachers for the bullying and
    unprofessional name calling tactics they displayed toward even handicapped, less
    fortunate substitute teachers needing work just to survive. Do we really want people like this having any role in helping shaping our children’s future? Why should teachers be exempt from the schools’ bullying policies?

    • rhetorical

      I’m shedding a single tear for the poor scabs being bussed in to break a strike. Oh wait, no I’m not.

      • clroger

        Sig Hiel

  • TC

    I’m tired of hearing Strongsville residents cry about their poverty. Of 80 communities in Cuyahoga County, you have the 11th lowest tax rates.

    http://treasurer.cuyahogacounty.us/pdf_treasurer/en-US/2012_ResidentialTaxRates.pdf

    All of this whining that you can’t afford levies or to support your schools is a load.

    • clroger

      Guess what We The People are going to keep some of OUR money. Is that OK with You?

  • soglad

    These teachers should be ashamed the way they are trying to use the children as a ploy to get more money for themselves. Start paying for all your medical and pensions like the rest of us do.

    • duckmonkeyman

      Then why not become a teacher?

      • clroger

        OMG get out of your mom’s basement

  • jennyjones

    The teachers need to realize that the majority of private sector workers pay high premiums for health care. How I would love to only pay a max of $200 per month for family coverage and get the type of coverage that they do. I can only imagine that most of the teachers voted for Obama….all public employees and federal employees should be forced to use ObamaCare. I think each teacher should get a raise based on their performance. I would love to work as a teacher in the Strongsville district, average pay of $60K

    • duckmonkeyman

      You need a better job or a union. My health care costs in private sector were on par with teachers. So why aren’t you a teacher?

      • clroger

        Just another Union Minion -IGNORE

  • Sbazz

    I think they should work a real full time job with me in an engeneering department of a large welding manufacturer. This is a part time job with real benefits. This is why I send my kids to private school

    • duckmonkeyman

      I have and unlike you can make a comparison. If you think dealing with the general public and all the issues isn’t “real”, get out of your cushy cubicle and become a teacher. Or if you think the job is easier, by all means be someone who backs up what they say and bring your expertise to the next generation. Or you can escape to the sheltered world of cherry picking private schools, Mitt. In the end, you lack a dog in the fight.

      • clroger

        and here he is again

  • Thomas

    My income has gone down 10% in three years while my health care has risen 14%,

    I work 50+ hours week with no overtime 11 months out of year.

    I pay $250 a pay check for insurance and get 4% match from company on what I 100% put in 401K.

    Every year I am reviewed on my peformance, my employer gives 2 cents as to my tenure there.

    Are teachers important? Very much so yes but they and the unions need to get in real world and economy.

    And if I hear one more time ‘this is for the good of the kids’, really? Where do you get off telling us what’s good for our children? There wont be a levy that passes in this town for many years because of this actions.

    There actions on the picket line and in class rooms before stike are shameful. I hope whatever the teachers get out of this is worth the loss of respect and trust of #1 the kids, the parents and the community.

    • duckmonkeyman

      So why not change jobs and become a teacher if so much better? No one is stopping you.

      • clroger

        shutup stupid

  • Bob

    Contract is up. The people who were elected to be stewards of the taxpayers money, have offered you a new contract. Vote on it. You don’t like, go somewhere else. What you really are saying is the taxpayers of Strongsville, your employers, should pay you more. They don’t want to. They don’t want another levy. Go to the unemployment office. Get your $413.67 per week for 6 months.
    You will be begging for your job back.
    Welcome to the world the rest of us live in. We call it Reality.

    • duckmonkeyman

      Sounds like if your reality is so bad, you should become a teacher. But we know about your crowd who wants to put their jack boot on the throats of teachers and say “shut up and teach”.

  • Andie55

    I have empathy for the vexation over increased class sizes, shortened planning time in order to meet the demands of a twenty-first century classroom, and the increased cost of diminishing health benefits. That being said, the logical and rational side of me posses this question…. Why are you more valuable or worthy of a higher standard of living than any other employee in the public or private sector during the state of the current economy? A teacher from that district, identical to my years of experience, earns approximately 12, 000 more a year, plus has 14% of their portion of pension paid for by the district, and has immensely better health benefits. I have been through multiple years of furlough days in order help our school district operate in the black in order to prevent layoffs. Yes, would I love to see a pay raise in order offset the increase in costs of insurance, standard of living expenses, and spikes in gas prices. The bottom line is, I and those teachers make a substantial salary compared to approximately 50% of the nation. (yes-that statistic is a reasonable estimate and not 100% accurate.) I don’t fault them for their frustrations; I live them everyday. But please realize that you are not the only district in the nation in a similar fiscal crisis. The only difference is that the other teachers are more supportive and choose to rationally accept salary decreases in order to contribute to the long term viability of the school system and the community we service.

  • duckmonkeyman

    I’m teaching 4 years and make $31,000 per year and work summers. I love teaching kids but taking a vow of poverty is hard on my own kids. I’m a good STEM teacher with lots of practical experience as well as a true desire to see kids succeed often at the expense of my own family. So for those of you who say “shut up and teach or leave”, maybe a good idea. Will leave an opening for all you teacher bashers. After all, if you think teaching is a better job than you have, it IS still a free country – become a teacher.

  • clroger

    My 8th grader uses Khan online education site when he does get something, next step eliminate teachers and physical schools all together! Imagine the savings taxpayers.

  • clroger

    Well the Union Thugs just made the national news-apparently they are distributing pink “a scab lives in your neighborhood” fliers! Nicely done Teachers! Please keep up the good work fro us Conservatives!

  • strongsvilledad

    I understand that teachers work
    hard. It is not an easy job, and most people cannot do it. But, when there is
    no money, there is no money. Most individuals do not have a contract to go to
    work. You can be fired at any given moment for any reason. We also pay more for
    health care, and retirement. What makes teachers so special that they feel they
    deserve all of these benefits, plus have a contract.

    If a teacher works for 10 hours a day * 185 days = 1850 hours

    If a non teacher works 50 weeks a year * 40 hours = 2000 hours

    Yes, most teachers work hard, but not harder than anyone else. They are just
    wired differently to handle a classroom. Not all teachers could handle picking
    up trash all day, or working in a corporate environment.

    We all work hard, and no one ever gets paid enough.

    The bottom line is that the UNION is trying to get the teachers to fight a
    battle that most of them do not want to fight, and the SCHOOL BOARD has no
    money.

    No one seems to care about the kids.

    You cannot get blood from a stone.

    On the other hand, what is wrong with the school board trying to tell everyone
    that all is well. They do not have enough subs, and the ones they have are not
    qualified. Don’t lie to us and try to make us believe that all is good. And stop fighting Kasich’s battle, let him do
    it himself.

    How much money is the police department spending on overtime??? Has anyone
    thought how the city will pay for that down the road.

    When will the useless mayor
    actually get involved? His only comment has been that he has said that he will
    meet with both sides if they want. When will he make a big deal out of this,
    and not wait for them to come to him?

    The school board needs to do something since the citizens of Strongsville
    refuse to vote for a levy. Maybe if the school board and the union actually got
    together to get a levy to pass this would not have happened.

    Why are parents volunteering at
    schools, baking cookies for subs, taking the subs lunch, and then crying that
    the teachers are yelling at them. Hey
    dummies, this is a strike and you are crossing a picket line. What did you expect to happen? Stay out of the schools, off facebook, and
    away from twitter so you can stop making things worse!

    I am so sick of both sides, just fix the damn strike so all of our kids can get
    back to a normal life.

  • clarkwgriswold

    My first comment is choose your career wisely. I didn’t mandate that you enter your profession (of choice) Don’t whine to me or prattle on about YOUR choices.

    Concur 100% WITH ZIRCON777 & duckmoneyman. I own a business in the Cleveland area with 50+ employees, don’t live in the community yet have to bear the consequences of any school levy by increased property taxes on our 10 acres 60,000 square foot facility. There are about 6 educators in my neighborhood that spend 8 hours a day working on tans in the summer time, yet pissed ( read jealous) at my family’s ability to travel on a vacation internationally.

    Its sad to say but the producers in our economy have been “overshadowed” by those reaping the benefits of publics coffers. Unions should have been outlawed after Andrew Carnige passed away. Scabs in the Strongsville Schools system are a good sign. Scabs mean a wound is healing. Honestly I don’t think there is really a need for unions anymore since child labor, OSHA, and other federal and state watchdog institutions have been created, other than to rape the producers in the economy.
    Unions are to me weakness hiding in a group. If YOU are able to perform (on your own) with exceptional ability, skill & vision and by (your )career choice you command a respectable wage and benefits by your employer.
    America owes you an opportunity not a right of success.
    Clark W Griswold

  • GREED

    FIRE THEM ALL.

  • Mark

    Here are four questions for the Strongsville teachers:
    1) Who made the decision to go on strike, walk out of your job and abandon all of your students?
    2) Who made the decision to stay out of work, not get paid your weekly/biweekly salary and let your bills go unpaid for the last eight weeks, not those who had money put aside to pay whatever bills that could get paid?
    3) Whose responsibility is it that your benefits aren’t having their premiums paid or deducted by not being paid?
    4) Is this 40 days of voluntarily not showing up for work? So doesn’t that mean 40 No call/No shows? I believe under normal company policy and procedure manuals would state that 2 straight No call/No shows, that employee is automatically fired. Am I 100% correct on that statement?
    So that means 400 teachers should have been fired on the spot.
    That means that the Strongsville Board of Education need to immediately post 400 job postings for Elementary, Middle School and High School Teacher positions that need to be filled by August. That means English, Math, Social Studies, Science, Health, Physical Education, Industrial Arts, Home Economics, Coaches, Specialty Instructors and whatever other positions that I missed need to be filled. I believe that you have at least 300 plus substitute teachers that would be perfect candidates to fill those teaching positions immediately. Wouldn’t many people agree with me???

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