Teachers Vote to Return, Board Votes Next

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By Allison Brown

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Strongsville teachers have voted to go back to work.

After eight weeks on the picket line, Strongsville educators overwhelmingly ratified their contract on Saturday evening.

Nearly 400 teachers were involved with the process, and it only took a couple of hours to hear the results after the 5 p.m. vote at Strongsville High School.

"I am very happy. I am very happy to be back," said Tracy Linscott, who is president of the Strongsville Education Association.

As teachers walked into the school to cast their votes, they were greeted with hugs and signs. It was a pretty emotional scene, as many teachers had tears in their eyes.

"I'm speechless. I wasn't expecting an end to this, and it was a big surprise," said Mathangi Sridharan, who is a junior at Strongsville.

Parents were also involved with the welcoming of teachers on Saturday.

"We have supported our teachers in Strongsville and will continue to do so if the contract is up to their expectations. We are going to support it in any way that we can," said Richard Haluska, who has a daughter who attends Strongsville High School.

"It's been tough. I just miss the kids. I can't wait to go back," one teacher told Fox 8 News.

Linscott said the strike was probably the toughest time in the teachers' lives.

After eight weeks, however, there was a tentative agreement Friday night between the SEA and the board of education. Both sides had been at odds over salaries, working conditions and health care within teacher contracts.

The March 4 strike was proof of that problem.

"It was never intended to go this long, it was never, 'let's stay out as long as possible'," Linscott said.

Linscott did not elaborate on contract specifics but did explain that money wasn't a big issue of the contract.

"It was difficult for people to stand up for what they believed was the right thing to do and still believe it was the right thing to do," Linscott said.

"It's time to work, time to work and finish strong for the Strongsville Mustangs. We're just trying to finish the year strong," said Don Boynar, a Strongsville teacher.

Linscott explained that the teachers' action on Saturday will only be official once the board votes as well.

The board will meet at 9 a.m. Sunday morning at the Board of Education building.

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