Westerville preparing for teacher strike, but won't shut down
Westerville City Schools will not be shut down by a strike if an agreement is not reached between the district and the Westerville Education Association before the current contract expires Aug. 31.
The board approved a resolution Friday stating that the district will contract with Huffmaster, a company that provides security and personnel to employers facing strikes.
The board has been in negotiations with the Westerville Education Association, which represents the districts teaching staff, since May 23. A federal mediator has been involved in the talks since the start.
Board president Kevin Hoffman said in a press conference that the board will continue negotiations with the union. However, he said, the union has not reassured the district that members will not strike if a contract agreement is not reached.
“We remain optimistic that we will be able to negotiate a successor contract with our teachers,” Hoffman said. “We’ve been at the bargaining table all along and intend to continue bargaining in good faith. Without any assurance from the WEA that it will not strike, we had to prepare by taking this precautionary measure.”
Westerville students are scheduled to go back to school Wednesday, Aug. 15. WEA members should return with students, Hoffman said, and contracting with Huffmaster ensures that students will not be disrupted if a strike should occur.
Check back with ThisWeekNEWS.com for updates and read the full story in the Aug. 9 edition of ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion.