Dec. 9, 2020 -- The CH-UH City School District Board of Education has approved a new contract for the teachers’ union.
Following an all-night negotiation session that began on the evening of December 1, a tentative agreement was reached between the Board of Education and the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union early in the morning of December 2, the date the union intended to begin their strike. The teachers union voted on December 3 to ratify the agreement, which received 94% approval.
As the final step, the Board of Education unanimously approved the agreement during its regular meeting on December 8 (member Malia Lewis was not present due to an excused absence).
“I’m glad we were able to reach an agreement that’s more sustainable for the long term. Both sides worked hard and were able to ultimately agree on important compromises and meet in the middle,” said Board of Education President Jodi Sourini. “We are thrilled to be able to move forward united for our students.”
The ratified agreement covers the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. Teachers will receive their steps (salary increases for years of service to the district and for additional education) this year and next, with a 1% increase in base salary next year. Effective March 1, 2021, employee healthcare premium contribution will be tiered at 9, 10, or 11% of the monthly premium cost, with those employees at the lower pay range contributing slightly less (9%) than those at the higher pay ranges (10 or 11%).
- Moving from $0 deductible and $0 out of pocket in the medical insurance plan design, to $100 single/$200 family deductible and $500 single/$1000 family out-of-pocket, in addition to copays and prescription pay adjustments.
- Additional flexibility for several work days in the academic calendar.
- Elimination of 1% STRS (retirement) pickup by the Board of Education, with that now being the responsibility of the teachers’ union members. For 20-21, teachers will receive a $500 stipend to help ease the impact of the STRS change.
During the meeting, board members discussed the root cause of the district’s financial losses and strained negotiations: EdChoice laws and inequitable school funding in Ohio.
“It is unfortunate that [this contract] is a response to the misaligned priorities of our state leadership in Columbus,” said board member Dan Heintz.
The District lost $7 million last year, and expects to lose more than $9 million this year due to the way EdChoice vouchers are funded in Ohio.
“We will continue to testify in front of state lawmakers, provide Heights residents with information and ways to support fair school funding legislation, and work closely with our advocacy partners such as the Heights Coalition for Public Education,” said Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby.
In a public statement on December 4, the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union said, “We are committed to unite with our Board and administration to fight against the harmful EdChoice voucher deductions that have been breaking our district’s budget and making it harder for us to give our students the education they deserve.”
Additional meeting highlights
- The Board and Superintendent recognized the Tiger Team Members of the Month for November. Read their names and nominations here.
- The Board and Superintendent recognized Gearity Elementary School instructional specialist Amanda Blazetic for being named University Heights’ Educator of the Year.
- The Board and Superintendent recognized University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan for testifying in front of state lawmakers in support of the Fair School Funding Plan.
- Heights High sophomore Taylor Evans delivered the Superintendent’s Cadre Report. Taylor updated the Board on happenings at Heights High School, including the GEAR Up PSAT competition. She shared her gratitude for Heights High teachers and staff for keeping her and her classmates motivated and feeling cared for during virtual learning.
- Dr. Paul Lombardo, Assistant Superintendent of HR & Operations, presented a proposed change to the 2020-2021 school calendar: a Teacher Independent Work Day on February 12. This additional date is in accordance with the ratified contract between the Board of Education and Cleveland Heights Teachers Union. The proposed date is currently .