Strongsville families begin new school year, move past stress of teachers' strike

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - Families in Strongsville are hoping the fresh start of a new school year will remove the bitter taste from a teachers' strike that divided the community last spring.

Students return to their classrooms on Tuesday. The strike over benefits, raises and other issues lasted eight weeks.

Nancy Kennell, 47, has four children in the district and cares for her two nephews, who are also students.

"For our family, it's done and over and I'm wanting my kids to go in and not think about the strike," Kennell said.

Jake Kennell, 16, is starting his junior year at Strongsville High School.

He said he supports the teachers, but believes that others in the student body continue to harbor bad feelings over the prolonged strike.

"Definitely, it's going to be in the back of their heads... It's like they (the teachers) walked out on them," Jake Kennell said.

In April, the Strongsville City Schools Board of Education held an emergency board meeting and ratified a new three-year contract for the teachers.

It included step pay raises for teachers, but it also increased their health insurance costs.

Nancy Kennell said she's hoping for s smooth transition to the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year and hopes both sides will focus on helping the kids learn.

"They say that they're putting it behind them and ready to move on and to heal, but I hope that they continue to that," she said.

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