STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- The Strongsville Education Association (SEA) voted by an overwhelming majority in favor of a work stoppage effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 4.
The vote was held at the Holiday Inn in Strongsville Sunday evening after negotiations with the Strongsville Board of Education failed Saturday.
"We have always been willing to negotiate and to make concessions to reach the fair and equitable contract that our members deserve," SEA spokesperson Christine Canning says. "However, the Board has shown a callous disregard for its teachers, its students and its community by refusing to negotiate any longer and attempting to impose a contract that will ultimately hurt our kids."
A SEA press release states a 10-day strike notice was initially issued on Feb. 21 after "months of fruitless negotiations."
"While we had hoped it would not be necessary to leave our classrooms, the reckless and irrational actions of the Board have left us with no choice but to strike for our very survival," Canning continues. "It is clear that the Board doesn't care about the long-term impact their demands would have on the quality of education in this community. Instead, they are pursuing a political agenda that wastes taxpayer dollars on lawyers and security guards instead of investing in our children and the teachers who serve them every day."
Earlier Sunday, substitute teachers held a meeting inside Strongsville City Hall to plan for the potential Monday strike. As the substitutes were walking in for the meeting, many teachers with Strongsville City Schools were there protesting. Some people say the Strongsville teachers were engaging in "hostile chants" and reportedly cursed at some of the substitutes.
Police were called to the scene to make sure everything was peaceful.
SEA represents 383 teachers, guidance counselors and psychologists who have been working without a contract since June. According to a SEA press release, this number reflects a reduction of approximately 100 teachers in the last five years.
WKYC's attempts to reach Board President David Frazee for comment have been unsuccessful.