Teachers for Columbus City Schools, Ohio’s largest school district, have voted to go on strike and will be walking picket lines Monday, two days before classes are scheduled to resume. More than 94% of the Columbus Education Association’s members voted to reject the school board’s final offer late Sunday, the Ohio Education Association said.
The union represents more than 4,000 teachers, librarians, nurses and other employees.
“This strike is about our students who deserve a commitment to modern schools with heating and air conditioning, smaller class sizes, and a well-rounded curriculum that includes art, music and P.E.,” the union said in a statement.
The school board said its offer put children first.
“We offered a generous compensation package for teachers and provisions that would have a positive impact on classrooms,” the board said in a statement.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther called for the union and school board to keep bargaining.
“The CEA and the school district must return to the table and get our kids back in the classroom. A responsible solution is within reach, but only if negotiations restart now,” the mayor said in a statement.
The district of some 47,000 students has said it plans to start the school year with remote learning on Wednesday if the strike continues. Some parents said that option was ineffective during the pandemic.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Education Secretarydidn’t address the negotiations in Columbus, but he said teachers in general should be paid more.
“In the last 25 years, when you adjust for inflation, teachers have made only $29 more than they did 25 years ago,” Cardona said. “We need to do better there.”