Parents concerned that Reynoldsburg teachers could call a strike at any time have posted an online petition that now has more than 500 signatures.
Margaret Mary Luzny said the parent group, “Raider Strong We Care,” backs teachers in their demand for a cap on class sizes and a compensation package that is not based on merit pay or performance of students on state tests.
Parents and teachers showed up in force at a rally before last night's (Aug. 19) Reynoldsburg Board of Education meeting held at Encore Academy on the Summit Road Campus.
Teachers filed a 10-day strike notice Aug. 8, which means union representatives may call for a strike at any time after the 10 days, at their discretion, said Kathy Evans, Reynoldsburg Education Association (REA) spokeswoman.
Luzny said parents became more and more concerned as talks between teachers and the district continued to stall, despite the efforts of a federal mediator.
“We don’t want to see a teachers’ strike,” she said. “We want a compromise to be reached, but we also have issues with class sizes and the elimination of programs.”
The “Raider Strong We Care” Facebook page now has 254 members. The online petition, at ipetitions.com/petition/families-for-reynoldsburg-teachers, asks the district to “offer a fair and equitable contract” to the REA.
“We wholeheartedly object to salaries based on a merit pay system,” the petition states. “Data indicates it has proven a failure in many other districts and businesses because it neglects to recognize the unique nature of education, the need for collaboration, the intrinsic motivation of teachers and the wide range of demographics educators see in their classrooms each year.”
Luzny said about 20 parents showed up Monday evening to talk to new Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning during her open office hours.
“We talked to her about our concerns over class sizes,” Luzny said. “She told us that is not a concern this year, but we know there are many classes over 25 students to a teacher.
“My concern is that because we are an open enrollment district, we were sold a bill of goods that classes would not go over 25, but they have gone over that, in many cases.”
She said the district has been replacing some certified teachers in areas such as physical education, with paraprofessionals.
“The certified teacher who used to share her time between two school buildings, is now teaching in four buildings,” Luzny said.