COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A federal mediator in the negotiations for a new teachers’ contract for Columbus City Schools has called both sides to a meeting Wednesday.
The bargaining meeting between the union, the Columbus Education Association, and the Columbus City School Board is set for 1 p.m.
The meeting was announced in a CEA social media post.
Wednesday also marks the first day of the school year for students, who will be learning remotely.
The Columbus teachers strike began with both sides explaining their positions to the public.
Board of Education members had an emergency meeting Monday that did not end until after midnight. Because the meeting was in executive session, no action was taken, but President Jennifer Adair said Ohio’s largest public school system will continue to work with its 4,500-member teachers union to reach an agreement.
“We don’t have action on that to report yet. But we will – soon,” Adair said. “Our board fully recognizes the disruption and concern felt by our children and families and across Columbus. To our school community, like you, we are saddened by this start to the school year.”
Classes will still begin Wednesday but with schools closed and students learning remotely on computer with substitutes and administrators providing the lessons. In addition to the resources from the district, several community agencies are planning on being locations where students can learn.
“Be assured we will support your children and families with the resources they need in this time of uncertainty,” Adair said.
NBC4 exclusive interview with union spokesperson
Teachers returned to picket lines, after some parents joined them there Monday. The main points of contention seeming to be classes sizes, building conditions and the availability of arts and physical education classes, in addition to pay.
“We understand that parents are in a difficult space right now, but we also want them to understand we are doing this for the students of Columbus,” teachers spokesperson Regina Fuentes said, “and we truly are making this sacrifice because we want the schools that Columbus students deserve.”