COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Schools and the Columbus Education Association have been meeting for hours today trying to hammer out a new teachers’ contract.
The meeting is happening as the union has taken several steps to prepare for a potential strike ahead of the current contract expiring in just three days. Discussions have been going on all day Thursday at the Ohio Education Association office.
No word on how long this meeting will go on tonight — it could be several more hours. This is all happening with key dates fast approaching, which parents are tracking.
“The last few years have taught me to expect the worst and hope for the best and this is kind of no different so we’re kind of making arrangements to deal with the pending potential strike,” said Leigh D’Onofrio. She has two kids enrolled at Clinton Elementary School.
The current teacher’s contract expires on Aug. 21, teachers are scheduled to return to their schools on Aug. 22, and students’ first day of school is Aug. 24.
CCS and the CEA have been at odds over a new contract for weeks, and the union has taken steps to prepare for a potential strike. CEA says it wants to put enforceable language in the contract when it comes to HVAC.
“It says something that the teachers are working so hard, and the union is working so hard to make sure that happens. Because they have power to whatever extent they do to use that to help the communities that are dealing with these schools,” said D’Onofrio.
She added she’s supporting the teachers during these negotiations and she’s having conversations about what next step with her kids.
“One kid that’s super excited to go back to school the other is like no way I don’t want to do trying to balance the uncertainty for them also has been tricky,” she said.
Talks are still ongoing at this time and there’s no word on how long this meeting could last.
If there would be a strike, the district had already said it plans to open the school year with remote learning.