COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Education Association has taken action. Members and its Legislative Assembly voted last Thursday night to take its next steps — issuing a strike notice now that teacher contract negotiations with Columbus City Schools have reached a standstill.
The first day of class is 19 days away. There are a lot of questions as to what happens next.
To be clear, the union’s vote is one of many steps before a strike would happen, but it’s at the forefront of the community’s mind.
Summer is soon coming to an end and now is the time many are preparing to go back to the classroom. For families in the Columbus City School district there is some uncertainty.
“I’m kind of used to things not being normal I think, so I think it made it easier to go into this with no expectations,” said parent Joe Hoye.
A 10-day strike notice was issued after the Columbus Education Associations union meeting Thursday. It’s among the first steps in potentially declaring a strike.
Hoye has two kids enrolled in the district. He says the pandemic and virtual learning has opened his eyes to what teachers are responsible for.
“It’s given me you know and insight into just kind of what goes on and have a whole, I already had a lot of respect for teachers but whole another level of respect for teachers after that,” said Hoye.
NBC 4’s Karina Cheung did reach out to Columbus City Schools asking if it had a strike plan it would like to share and if not, when parents would have notice of it. A spokesperson did not answer the specific questions and said there are no additional details at this time.
The board did schedule a special meeting on Monday to discuss negotiations with public employees.
“It’s still kind of disappointing because you’d think we have this all figured out by now,” said Andrew Smith.
Smith is a Columbus resident with kids enrolled outside of the district. He worries about the impact a potential strike could have on his neighbors.
“Everybody’s life is different,” said Smith. “Some people need childcare, some people rely on that schedule starting with their kids with school and throwing that off can you know cost them money or cost them time and those things are important as well — it’s a hard thing to juggle I’m sure.”
The union has until Aug. 11 to file for a strike and a strike could start August 22. That’s the first day teachers are scheduled to be back.
And if teachers do strike? Hoye was asked if he would support teachers. He responded, “100%, I do.”
The contract between CEA and the district expires Aug. 21. Students are scheduled to return to class on Aug. 24.