BRECKSVILLE -- The Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District Board has determined that the only way to move stalled negotiations forward is by turning them over to a federal mediator, according to David Tryon, board president.
"We have given the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association, the union that represents area teachers, written notice declaring impasse and requested the services of the federal mediator pursuant to Section 9 (H.) of the current agreement," said Tryon.
"Since the mediator will now have jurisdiction for the negotiations process, we cancelled all July negotiation meetings so we can be sure to accommodate the mediator's schedule."
The board also unanimously decided to honor the current agreement with respect to pay increases for the 2012-13 school year, which is another example of our desire to negotiate in good faith with our teachers."
Tryon added "We are keeping our promise. We notified the BEA of this decision at the same time we filed for impasse."
"We are disappointed that we had to take this action but on June 30, the current contract expires. It is time to make progress toward a resolution that will be good for education, reflects our current budget situation and is as fair to every employee as we can be under these circumstances."
The school board continues to seek community input.
Late Thursday, the BEA released a statement.
In part it reads:
"The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Education Association is shocked by the unnecessary and unprecedented move by the Board of Education on Tuesday to prematurely declare impasse and turn contract negotiations over to a federal mediator."
"BEA is extremely disappointed that the Board has already taken the first step towards unilaterally implementing a contract," said BEA crisis chair Ben Lesh. "By prematurely forcing mediation, the Board has revealed to the public and to the Association that they are more committed to forcing a strike than they are to bargaining in good faith."
"The Association is even more dismayed that the Board continues to steer community members to their Web site which the State Employment Relations Board (SERB) has already found probable cause against for violating Ohio's longstanding collective bargaining law," Lesh added.
"Once again the Board has demonstrated that their penchant for grossly distorting the facts in order to manipulate the public to support their anti-public education agenda is only exceeded by the frequency in which they do so."
Recognizing the financial challenges of the district, the Association has offered a proposal that would freeze salary growth and increase insurance contributions in order to contain costs in addition to permanently working a longer school day to meet the needs of our students.
"Despite our good faith efforts, the Board is only interested in a narrowly focused union busting agenda no matter what the cost is to the children they were elected to serve," Lesh said.
"The Association remains committed to the bargaining process; however, it is becoming more difficult when the Board seems driven to force a strike by implementing a contract which would ultimately decimate education in Brecksville/Broadview Heights."
As part of this process, the board reminds the community to go to the district's website to find information and connect to the school board and superintendent as well as submit comments.