COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – It was nearly a year ago that Columbus City Schools teachers staged a three day strike over wages, class-sizes and lack of air-conditioning. This was the first teachers’ strike in the state’s biggest school district since 1975.

More than 4,000 teachers who are members of the Columbus Education Association decided to turn down the final offer from the Board of Education, and decided to go on strike right as students were about to start a new school year. More than 50,000 students started the year virtually.

The teachers’ union was advocating for many things, but the biggest issues they wanted resolved were smaller class sizes, air-conditioning in the classroom and parental leave.

After three days, a deal was made and the teachers’ union is calling it a ‘win’. Effective this year, there will be smaller class sizes, and almost all of the schools either have or are in the process of having working air-conditioning.

“So we’re excited about starting on time [this year], but we also don’t want to forget to appreciate that fact that when we did go on strike that we had a large amount of community support and that the parents in the community were lockstep with the teachers in asking for the school Columbus students deserve,” said Regina Fuentes, a spokesperson for Columbus Education Association.

Another part of the deal, the Board of Education is working on getting more physical education, art, and music teachers in the elementary school.

“We want to remember moving forward that we’re in these schools for our students. We’re there to give them the best education they deserve and I think that teachers are ready to do that job and ready to get the ball rolling. We’re always excited for a new year, new chance, new opportunities. This is going to be another one of those,” Fuentes said.

In addition to supporting teachers, the union has also added substitute teachers. 

“We were able to get almost 300 building subs to join our union and we have a contract language written up for them that they will follow this year, which benefits us and being able to protect our members and protect their wants and needs moving forward. We know that substitute teaching is also a challenge and we want to make sure that those individuals are protected as well,” Fuentes said.

This new contract is effective for three years.