Strongsville Parent: Class Chaos Amid Strike

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Strongsville City School teachers showed up by the dozens outside Center Middle School with their 'Teachers on Strike' and 'No Contract, No Work' signs just hours after they voted to strike. 

The 30-35 teachers showed up just before 6:00 a.m. as substitute teachers drove into the nearby parking lot ready to head into the classrooms the striking teachers vacated.

The strike officially began at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The group met at the Holiday Inn at 5 p.m. Sunday for the vote after rejecting the Board of Education’s last best offer.

Earlier in the day, a chanting crowd of teachers stormed Strongsville City Hall as substitutes filled out paperwork, preparing to take their place when the strike begins at midnight.

Neither side would talk about specific sticking points, but both said they were at odds over working conditions and salaries.

Strongsville Police Officers have been all around the city Monday morning at the different schools throughout the district, helping to facilitate traffic in and out of the numerous schools.

One parent told FOX 8 that her daughter, who attends Strongsville High School, texted her saying that the school was a mess and nobody knows what is going on.

That same parent said she kept her two youngest kids home for fear of what would happen at the school with substitute teachers in the classroom.  Another parent added that up to 50 students were in one classroom at the high school and even some of those students had to sit on the floor.

Strongsville Board of Education President David Frazee released the following statement after the vote:

“I am extremely  disappointed that our teachers have voted to implement a strike beginning on March 4, 2013. However, the Board of Education (BOE) is grateful that we have a highly capable and professional administrative team as well as qualified substitute teachers in place, who want only the best for our students. I want to personally thank the Strongsville Police Department for their efforts so that our students and non-striking staff are able to open schools on Monday as we begin this teachers’ strike. We believe we have done everything we could to avoid a teachers’ strike. It was the Strongsville Education Association’s (SEA) decision to go on strike.

We have and will continue to negotiate in good faith during the strike.  We have proposed what we feel is a very fair and reasonable contract proposal … I am confident that the Strongsville community will find the BOE agreement to be extremely fair to our teachers and affordable to our district. We are putting our strike preparation plan into effect.”

The Strongsville Education Association also submitted a statement:

“The Strongsville Education Association has voted overwhelmingly to commence work stoppage at 12:01 a.m. on March 4. The SEA came to the table prepared to reach a mutual agreement with the Board on Saturday, March 2; however, it became clear that the Board was not prepared to bargain in good faith.

The announcement of a strike concludes nine months of bargaining. The last bargaining session took place yesterday. All five board members arrived in a security van provided by Huffmaster to attend their first bargaining session since negotiations began in June. Although the SEA submitted their proposal to the Board’s team of lawyers over a week in advance, negotiations were delayed for two and a half hours while the Board was briefed on the contents.The SEA represents 383 teachers, guidance counselors, and psychologists who have been working without a contract since June. This number reflects a reduction of approximately 100 teachers in the last five years.”

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