"Last and best" offer made in Strongsville teacher negotiations, strike still looming

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - Strongsville School Board officials made their "last and best offer" Saturday to the Strongsville teacher's union as the threat of a massive strike looms over the city.

Less than 48-hours away from a massive teacher's strike, school board officials issued a news release reading: 

"All members of the Strongsville City Schools (SCS) Board of Education (BOE) were present to make a last best offer to the Strongsville Education Association (SEA) at a scheduled Saturday morning meeting with an assigned federal mediator, according to David Frazee, board president."

 "We hope that we can make progress toward an agreement," said Frazee in the release.

In the meantime, officials are racing to find enough qualified substitutes to support a possible teacher's strike Monday, a cause of worry for one parent NewChannel5 spoke to Saturday.

"I'm very concerned that the strike might happen. I'm worried about the safety of the children. I don't understand how they can get 300-plus substitutes ready and fingerprinted and ready to start first thing Monday morning," said Moira Lusky, a mother of three children in the Strongsville City school system.

Lusky, a teacher herself but in a different district, said she knows firsthand how lengthy the certification and background check process can be. 

As she spoke with NewsChannel5, Lusky asked, "Who is conducting the background checks, who is checking into the credentials of the teachers, are they highly qualified in their area of expertise?," since the possible strike comes about one week before the OGT's.

In addition to her questions, a letter sent home by teachers Friday encouraged parents to ask even more questions like whether the substitutes hired will know what kids have certain medical conditions. The letter even asked if those sub's will have the recent Active Shooter Training. 

Lusky said she's also concerned over what the school has planned for the students if teachers didn't leave lesson plans behind. 

"Um, …my children might be getting ill over the weekend and might be getting sick Monday," she told NewsChannel5. 

A "sick" absence, Lusky explained, is the only way school officials will excuse an absence since the Strongsville Board of Education has decided for schools to remain open Monday if the strike continues as planned.

In the news release, Frazee said, "We will continue to keep the community informed regarding our preparations for a strike, which appears to be likely. And, certainly we will announce good news of a settlement, if we have that to report."

Frazee did not return any calls from NewsChannel5 Saturday regarding status of the status of substitutes hired. Job finding websites like Indeed.com showed nearly 400 teaching jobs open in Strongsville.

The SCS BOE has created a webpage with information on his situation: www.strongnet.org/negotiationnews .

Both parties have until midnight Sunday to come-up with an agreement or the strick is expected to begin on March 4th.

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