STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- The strike is over. Teachers return to class Tuesday morning bright and early. They were allowed back into their classrooms Monday afternoon to prepare.
"It was difficult, but we have a strong union," said Brian Wilson, Center Middle School Physical Ed teacher. "We made it through tough weather on the picket lines and we are excited to be back with the kids."
The 380 or so teachers will return after hundreds of substitutes stepped up to the plate for the two month long stalemate.
A sub named "Cindy" said, "I think that most of the teachers that were here (as substitutes) were very good and got a lot of experience. I think the students for the most part had a good experience."
Strongsville School Board President David Frazee said he appreciates all the hard work the subs put in, and when the dust settles, many will find full-time work in the district. "I am very grateful to the subs who did step up so our kids didn't have to suffer and not have the credit that they need to be able to get through the school year."
Included in the 63-page, two-year agreement are concessions the union made in teachers’ health care plans that offset the increase in compensation teachers will be getting.
The board said there is no cost increase from its April 14 proposal.
“We have to thank all the administrators and the negotiating team for working diligently over months to get this done,” said Frazee.
Teachers will now pay up to 20 percent of their medical insurance. That is an increase of up to 10 percent. There are additional costs for supplemental dental and vision care coverage.
“There are things in there that we wish we could have in there, that aren’t in there. But, you know, it was bargaining,” said Strongsville Education Association President Tracy Linscott.
Both sides agreed to a step salary index that ranges from $38,361 to $93,827 a year, based on education and years of service. Some teachers will get a one-time payment of $1,200 if they are not eligible to advance a step that result in a salary increase or if they are at the top step.
It's back to class Tuesday morning. The final day of school is June 5th.
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