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Euclid teachers give 10-day strike notice

'We have been denied a contract which would have allowed us to provide the children of this community the education they deserve.'

EUCLID, Ohio — A teacher strike may be on the horizon in the Euclid City School District.

The Euclid Teachers’ Association announced on Friday that it has delivered a 10-day strike notice to the Euclid Board of Education. Now, following the delivery of the strike notice to the board, the union will take a vote within the next 10 days to initiate a strike.

The Euclid Teachers’ Association says it has been working without a contract for more than 130 days. The ETA added that contract negotiations started between the two sides last spring, but hit an impasse when the Euclid Board of Education demanded that the teaching staff give up its long-held contractual rights that were implemented to ensure student success and "are viewed as models throughout the state."

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“The Board of Education seeks to strip teachers of their right to remain in their classrooms and teach the content and students they have devoted their lives to teaching,” according to a press release from the teacher’s association. “The Board demands that administrators have the power to remove teachers from their classrooms and reassign them at any point in the school year to any classroom of the Board’s choosing as decided by a revolving door of administrators who rarely remain in the district for more than a few years before leaving for better paying or easier jobs elsewhere. The ETA holds that this language would destroy the teacher-student relationship which is an important foundation for learning, particularly for low-income students and students of color, both of whom are significant groups served by Euclid teachers. This example highlights some of the anti-student, radical agenda pushed by the Board of Education under the guise of contract ‘modernization.’”

ETA Spokesperson Josh Stephens offered the following statement about the situation:

Euclid teachers have long been a primary stabilizing force in the lives of our students. Euclid teachers have filled the gaps when the district has failed to provide students with fundamentals such as transportation, adequate building security, and extracurricular learning and growth opportunities. We have done so out of our deep professional commitment to the improvement of the children of Euclid. But now we have been denied a contract which would have allowed us to provide the children of this community the education they deserve. And, for that reason, I will proudly walk the line until this Board comes to its senses.

Following the news of the ETA 's intent to strike, Euclid City Schools issued a statement on Friday afternoon, saying the the number one priority remains the students and offering up a list of accommodations that have been offered to teachers. "We very much want to finalize an agreement with the union, but if they elect to strike, students’ education must and will continue," the district stated.

You can read the full statement below:

We are disappointed that the Euclid Teachers Association (ETA) has decided to issue a 10- day notice of its intent to strike. This only redoubles our commitment to continue bargaining in good faith to reach a contract settlement that is fair and equitable for all parties. Our number one priority remains our students. The Board is seeking changes that promote student success. The Union is fighting to keep contract language dating from the 1950’s in place, even though changes in education over the past seven decades necessitate modernizing our contract to better ensure student success as they prepare to enter today’s world, not that of our grandparents. Since we began negotiations, we have offered our teachers one of the biggest salary increases and largest financial packages among any school district in Ohio. We have done this in an effort to take care of our teachers and provide economic stability in this unprecedented pandemic-driven environment. Inexplicably, this is still a point of contention with the ETA. With this substantial wage increase, Euclid teachers’ salary will be competitive with districts in Northeast Ohio and across the state. In addition, the ETA wrongly states that the board of education “seeks the power to arbitrarily reassign teachers to different classrooms or different teaching assignments at any point in the school year for any reason.” In fact, we are talking about the ability of a principal to assign a small portion of high school teachers within their building – fewer than 20 teachers out of teaching staff of 120 – to courses within the department they currently teach in a collaborative process taking into consideration teachers’ preferences, rather than the union’s unilateral control over all course assignments. This suggested language supports the district's broader goal of improving student outcomes while honoring teacher choice. For example, a teacher hired to teach Social Studies may be assigned to teach American History instead of Government after a teacher-principal collaborative process. Over the last ten months, we have taken important steps toward providing a more progressive and successful education experience for our students and parents, including reorganizing our school district, addressing the learning challenges our students experienced amid the COVID pandemic, improving mental health services and special education, bolstering career pathways for our students and more. We must continue this positive momentum, and we are taking all steps necessary to assure that we will continue to help our students succeed academically and in life after graduation. We appreciate the community’s support, and we look forward to reaching an agreement with our teachers.

Negotiations between the two sides will resume on Jan. 26.

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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated article involving a teacher strike on Nov. 5, 2021.