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Education


Strongsville students wrap up graduation test without regular teachers
Strike ends second week and no talks are scheduled
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Strongsville students have been gathering on Thursday nights outside of the school administration building to hold rallies in support of striking teachers
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
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In The Region:
The Ohio Graduation Test is being administered statewide this week, and sophomores at Strongsville High are finishing up today while their teachers end a second week on strike. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Strongsville high takes OGT

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The chaos that reigned in the strike’s first days seems to have died down as students adjust and the district hires more substitute teachers, counselors, nurses and psychologists. 
Strongsville Superintendent John Krupinski also credits high school administrators for keeping the balance during the week when students are taking a standardized test that is key in determining if they graduate.

“They have trained all of the substitutes for monitoring. They’ve gone over all the security measures. There are two teachers in every room. And we’re doing a very nice job of getting it accomplished. Students are coming. The attendance rate is very high. It is a high-stakes test for them. And they’re doing their best. So it’s going well.”

Meanwhile, the schools and the teachers’ union are still far apart on an agreement over the structure of pay and health-care benefits.

The district says a coming $6 million budget deficit is the reason it needs concessions from teachers. The union says it’s already given up a lot in the past two contracts. Things came to a head two weeks ago and about 400 teachers went on strike.

Vigil to return teachers to their classrooms
Last night, students held a rally to support teachers outside the school administration offices, the second since the strike began nearly two weeks ago. Sophomore Sara Tilisky isn’t placing blame for the strike; she just wants the two sides to come back to the table. And she says, when the strike seemed imminent, her teachers crammed in graduation test prep right up until their last day.

“I’m lucky enough that most of the curriculum that we learned is on the test. And the teachers have taught us all we need to know. The subs have been trying to tie up loose ends to prepare us. But I think that all the work was on the part of the teachers. Anything that we already learned, is what we applied. And anything the subs are teaching now, it either didn’t appear on the test or it’s just not sinking in.”

Next week, the school returns to as regular a schedule as it’s had during the strike. 
Extracurriculars have been on hold – everything from band to upper-level language and AP classes. But Superintendent Krupinski says that could change in the next few days. 

School board officials declined the teachers’ union’s invitation to meet Saturday morning, saying the board already made its last, best offer before the strike.
Listener Comments:

A professional arbitrator is reported to have offered his services pro bono in order to resolve the issues that led to the strike by the SEA. The teachers have said that they would return to the classroom if the Board of Education agreed to accept the decisions of an arbitrator. The Board of Education refuses to agree to this type of resolution. Why???? What is the Board trying to hide? Are they more interested in union busting than the welfare of students????


Posted by: Louis Duchez (Berea) on April 25, 2013 8:04AM
Bill Kartus of Strongsville says that the teachers "left their jobs" by going on strike. He is dead wrong. They did no such thing as to leave their jobs. Had they done so, why would they be going without pay or health benefits in order to stand in the cold and rain of a picket line? The withholding of services is a legitimate action to take when negotiations come to a standstill and management refuses to bargain in good faith. The teachers have publicized that they are willing to accept the decisions of an arbitrator and return to the classroom.


Posted by: Louis Duchez (Berea) on April 24, 2013 9:04AM
In some reports they are called "replacement teachers" and in others "substitutes." It may be less polite but more descriptive to call them "scabs." Anyone who would cross a picket line and take away the job of a worker on strike is among the lowest species on earth.


Posted by: Louis Duchez (Berea, Ohio) on March 15, 2013 8:03AM
My parents and teachers must have taught me different then Louis Duchez.

It is my understanding that the teachers voluntarily went on strike and left their jobs.
Per what I was taught, that is not “take away the job of a worker”. That is willing to do the work others have decided they do not want to do because $70-80K is not enough for less than 9 months of work.

A person willing to teach our kids while being yelled at, cursed at, threatened and humiliated when the original individuals walked out on them would be per my teachings a HERO.

Thank You to all the "replacement teachers" or "substitutes"!!!


Posted by: Bill Kartus (Strongsville, Ohio) on March 15, 2013 1:03AM
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