Instruction during the pandemic main sticking point in Gahanna school negotiations


GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) — According to collective bargaining agreements released by both sides Sunday, the main sticking point in negotiations between the Gahanna-Jefferson school district and its teachers is how the school will conduct instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The union, the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association, is seeking distance learning for grades 6-12 through the end of the first semester before moving to a “school within a school” with all distance learning students reassigned to the Gahanna Online Academy with other students who are also distance learning.

The district seeks to limit livestream classes for grades 6-12, intervention specialists for pre-K through 12, gifted students in grades 3-5, and arts students in grades K-5.

The union is asking any employee who works outside regular working hours be compensated on an hourly basis, while the district said any teacher who livestreams will be paid $500 per semester.

The district said it will provide a tracking document for PPE and cleaning supplies, which the teachers will use to report dwindling supplies. Should the district fail to restock those supplies, the union is asking that those spaces that can’t be disinfected not be put into use.

The union is also asking for COVID-19-related leave, which includes using sick leave for childcare should their child’s school or daycare becoming unavailable; not penalizing a staff member by using accrued time should the staff member need to quarantine due to the virus; and establishing a 100-day COVID-19 “leave pool,” which would fund an employee’s leave should they use up their accrued time due to the virus.

The district’s proposal does not include anything related to COVID-related leave.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association school teachers overwhelmingly voted Thursday to authorize their bargaining team to send the district a 10-day “notice of intent to strike and picket.”

The district’s superintendent issued a statement Friday saying the district is preparing for a possible teachers’ strike, including going to court.

In the statement, Superintendent Steve Barrett said the school board “filed a Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order asking the court to issue an order prohibiting a strike.” The board also filed an unfair labor practice, stating the union’s movement toward a strike violates the law.

Both proposals are available for download below.

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