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Latest News - November 2014

November 25, 2014
Parma teachers reject contract after 1 1/2 years of negotiations
Maura Zurick

PARMA, Ohio -- Parma teachers have been working without a contract for more than a year, but union members voted down a tentative agreement Monday.

The school board called a special meeting at 4 p.m. Monday to discuss teacher and support-staff negotiations. Simultaneously, teachers rejected their agreement by a vote of about 61 percent. Support staff rejected the board's last, best offer by 87 percent.Teachers union President Jeff Wensing said he expects to go back to the bargaining table, adding that the teachers have not yet received the board's last, best offer.Parma Education Association, an affiliate of Northeastern Ohio Education Association, represents more than 900 teachers in the Parma City School District, which serves Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills. In addition to the 900 teachers.The 700 support-staff employees are also working on contract agreements.

Superintendent Jeff Graham said the district is making preparations for a strike, should it come to that."Several weeks ago, Parma City Schools and the PEA bargaining team reached a tentative labor agreement," Graham said in a statement. "Last night, the PEA membership voted and unfortunately, failed to ratify the tentative agreement as presented. This means that the district and PEA will now return to the bargaining table in the hopes of reaching a tentative agreement that the membership and the Board of Education will support."

He said the board agreed to continue negotiations with the support-staff union, and planned a meeting for Monday.Wensing said teachers are seeking is a raise, since like support staff they haven't had a pay increase since 2008.However, he said, teachers are also frustrated by the lack of time they have to actually teach. Mandatory state testing and "demands on teachers for data entry" have impinged on teaching time.

Wensing said he is hopeful the unions and districts can avoid a strike, but said it is part of the collective bargaining process.He said the teachers' union will meet after the holiday to "form a game plan.



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