Strongsville striking teachers took to the picket line for their fifth straight week on Monday. The Strongsville Education Association (SEA) represents nearly 400 educators in the district. The union claims that teacher salaries are not too high and are in line with similar schools in Cuyahoga County.
SEA President Tracy Linscott said, “The time has come to debunk the myth that Strongsville teachers are overpaid, when in fact truth may be just the opposite.” The Strongsville Board of Education maintains that the requested raises would put the district $2 million in the red.
Talks between the union and the school district reportedly broke down last Tuesday. There are currently no other known negotiation meetings scheduled. A total of 19 students have withdrawn from the district since the Strongsville strike began. Some parents frustrated with the ongoing strike opted to enroll their children in online charter schools or area private schools.
The Strongsville teacher starting salary typically ranges from $34,779 to $38,361. The average teacher salary in the district ranges from $66,558 to $73,746. The figures reportedly do not take into account the 10.3 percent retirement contribution the school district pays for each teacher. In Ohio, most teachers reportedly pay their own retirement contribution.
Union officials also pointed out that some Strongsville teachers are fourth-highest paid in the area. Strongsville school board members and strike opponents often dismiss the comparison rationale. Schools officials commented that how much other districts can afford to pay teachers is not the issue, it’s how much the Strongsville district and taxpayers can afford to pay.
An unnamed Strongsville substitute teacher talked with NewsNet5 about what it was like to enter the classroom during a labor dispute. The substitute teacher said she was angry that the Strongsville teachers said the classroom replacements were not qualified. The woman reportedly presented her certifications, noting advanced education in the field.
The Strongsville strike substitute teacher also stated that it was difficult to instruct the student’s without the lesson plan, books, or other necessary materials. It is common practice for teachers to leave the lesson plan book for substitutes so previous and planned activities can be reviewed. Many Ohio schools require teachers to turn their lesson plans in each week for review before the material is presented the following week.
What do you think of the Strongsville teachers strike?
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