It’s a moment many expected and were waiting on the Columbus Education Association’s vote Sunday.
Parents said they’ve been frustrated by the negotiation process, hearing about 22 bargaining sessions and now knowing what’s next gives them some time to make big decisions.
“Might mean missing a few days of school until this contract is ironed out,” said Kristin McCormick, a parent with a first grader in the district. “My hope is that happens as quickly as possible with minimal disruptions to student learning, but we’ll see how it goes.”
CCS announced weeks ago that if a strike was called, it would open the school year with remote learning conducted by substitute teachers.
“He can’t sit in front of a computer all day,” McCormick said. “That’s not going to be a conducive learning environment for him and then, also, there’s the concern of just not having his usual teacher that he expects.”
One parent said she will not send her child to school amidst a strike.
“Nope, nobody in my family will ever cross an educator’s picket line, ever,” said Megan Buscemi, another district parent.
Buscemi said she wants a normal school year for her incoming second grader, Violet.
“When the board and the district come down with language like, ‘This is our last, best, and final offer,’ that’s corporate America talking,” Buscemi said. “That is not the way I expect educators who want to put other educators and children first to speak. That’s hardball.”
Both Buscemi and McCormick said they support teachers and hope for a quick resolution.
McCormick said another big concern for her will be finding childcare for the foreseeable future.
“We don’t have any family or friends, caregivers in town, so we do rely on a daycare center for childcare after school and I don’t know if they’ll be available during the school day,” she said.
There is still time for the board and the union to meet at the bargaining table; the first day of school for students is Wednesday. The board announced it would meet in a closed executive session Monday at 8 p.m.