Strongsville Teacher: ‘I’m Ecstatic to be Back’

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Hundreds of Strongsville teachers return to their classrooms Tuesday after spending eight weeks on the picket line.

"It feels wonderful, absolutely wonderful," said high school English teacher Kim Craigs.

Strongsville teachers spent Monday afternoon organizing their classrooms.  In some cases, some of their students showed to help.

"Today, I brought everything back from home and we set up my classroom and we set up my desk so we're ready to go back tomorrow," said Craigs.

"My family and I have had our fair share of issues and our teachers have been there every step of the way, so I at least want to help support them the little bit that I can here," said senior Kristen Zeszut.

The teachers' union and the school board ratified a new contract over the weekend after contentious negotiations that led to an eight week strike.

"This healing process is going to be a long one and hopefully by the fall, when we start a new school year, things will be back to normal," said Strongsville school board president David Frazee.

In the end, teachers received step pay increases that they demanded, but have to pay a lot more for their healthcare.

"I look at it as a win, we stood up for ourselves, we got many of the things that are in our contract that we wanted in our contract back in July," said teachers union president Tracy Linscott.

It appears most teachers are pleased and thrilled the strike is over.

"I'm ecstatic to be back, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, I don't know if I'll sleep tonight honestly," said Spanish teacher Vicki Kellar.

"I had to bring a couple boxes in just some things that I hope I'll use with the kids again tomorrow," said Spanish teacher Sara Sebring.

"It'll take some time to get back in the swing of things because we did have our new lesson plans and whatever, but I'm sure they'll get us back on track," said senior Jessica Pierce.

Even though students are glad to have their regular teachers back, some say they'll miss their substitutes.

"Jess over here made some cookies for the substitutes that we came to give them on their last day, when they're packing up and everything to say thank you for the past eight weeks," said senior Husna Shariff.

"I feel that the kids in most of the classes were learning things. It might not have been the same things that they would've learned with the other teachers, but the kids for the most part were very good," said a substitute teacher who would only give her name as Cindy.

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