AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Eight months of work came down to the final hours of negotiating between Akron Public Schools and their teachers’ union, but an agreement was reached Sunday evening.
“I am pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with leaders of the Akron Education Association (AEA), so our students can report to school Monday in person, as usual,” district Superintendent Christine Fowler Mack said in a statement.
The district would not go into the details of the deal, but said it would cover three years. In next steps, the union must ratify the agreement and the school board has to approve.
The deal came after Akron Education Association President, Pat Shipe, issued the school system a 10-day strike notice in their on-going talks for a new teachers’ union contract.
“Our teachers are overwhelmingly concerned about some of these issues that they’d rather strike and protect the students in the building because these issues are so incredibly concerning for them,” shared Shipe.
Over the weekend, before an agreement was made, some in the community felt in limbo, including parent to three current APS students, Suzette Sayre.
“I think my biggest concern is I do have a senior and he is very concerned about whether or not he will graduate,” explained Sayre.
During the talks, the teachers’ union said they were fighting for a number of changes including better wages, healthcare and school safety.
All of which Sayre says she hopes to see improve.
“They need to stand up for the children. They need to stand up for our teachers. The current environment is not acceptable, and they need to ensure the safety of the school environment,” said Sayre.
On Saturday night, an official with Akron Public Schools alerted fOX 8 that negotiating ended at around 7:30 pm with some progress made toward a deal.
If a compromise was not found by Sunday at midnight, the teachers’ strike would have begun Monday.