Gahanna-Jefferson teachers go on strike after contract talks fail

Local News

GAHANNA, Ohio (WCMH) — Teachers in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District have gone on strike after weeks of back and forth on contracts.  

The biggest sticking point has been the hybrid learning model, and how teachers balance in-person and remote learning.  

“This weekend, GJEA presented the District with multiple learning models and proposals to reach a compromise — including the creation (like many other schools in the area) of a “School within a School” to ensure fully distance students are given the high-quality education they deserve. The good news is that there has been some forward movement in negotiations. Both sides are working to ensure each student has a Gahanna teacher and the individual attention needed — no matter what model their families have chosen. Unfortunately, while GJEA has proposed comprehensive contractual language, our District leadership continues to provide bullet-pointed outlines that need to be fleshed out further. At this point, there ARE unsigned agreements on a number of items. However, due to hours of lost time this week waiting for District proposals during mediation (including a proposal given to the Bargaining Team at 8:45 p.m Monday evening), and not yet reaching an agreement on some important elements of the contract, GJEA has made the incredibly difficult decision to be away from our students and strike.”

Betsy Baker, GJEA Spokesperson

Students were supposed to start returning to in-person learning on Tuesday, but that has been pushed back.  

On Monday morning, a judge denied the district’s request to stop a strike from happening. 

Steve Barrett, Superintendent with Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, released the following statement:

“The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association (GJEA), our teachers union, has taken
the extreme action of voting to strike in our district. We are deeply disappointed, as our
district leaders have presented multiple options for compromise that would assure
continuity of learning and create an equitable learning environment for all students.

Our district leaders and Board have prepared for the possibility of a strike, and we are
positioned to transition our students as soon as possible to a new learning platform and
a recognized online provider used by other central Ohio school districts. We will use a
combination of Gahanna-Jefferson teachers and substitute teachers from the
Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESC). We have a long-standing relationship
with the ESC, which is our current substitute teacher provider and resource for other
district services. We had plans in place for the potential strike, and we believe the
transition will be successful.

We remain committed to the negotiation process, and we are willing to continue our
conversations in good faith. We ask the teachers union to be open to collaborating with
us on creative solutions for learning. We will keep fighting for our students until we
get the job done.”

With all of this going on, the superintendent announced Sunday night that remote learning would continue through the end of this week.

The district has been taking steps to get ready for a strike, including lining up teachers from outside the district.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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