Contract talks with Gahanna-Jefferson teachers continue with federal mediator

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools administrative offices

Negotiations between the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association’s bargaining team and the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District resumed with the assistance of a federal mediator Sept. 29.

“Per the procedure in the collective-bargaining agreement, the parties jointly requested the assistance of a federal mediator,” said Betsy Baker, who recently was selected as a spokesperson for the ongoing negotiations.

A teacher in the district for nine years, Baker currently teaches geometry and Advanced Placement calculus at the high school. 

“I am wholeheartedly invested in the success of our schools,” she said. 

Bobby Swartzentruber, bargaining chairman for the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Association, previously told ThisWeek that teachers want a safe, equitable and successful return to in-person teaching and instruction when they return to the classroom Oct. 13.

Baker said the federal mediator is a nonpartisan employee of the federal government. 

“Neither party is charged for his time and/or services,” she said. “While he has the authority to call meetings for the purpose of promoting an agreement between the parties, he has no authority to recommend or to bind either party to any agreement.”

Judy Hengstebeck, the district's communications coordinator, said the current one-year teachers contract was approved by the school board June 26, 2019, and went into effect July 1, 2019.

Superintendent Steve Barrett said the district has been working diligently to create a model of learning that relies on its own teachers and curriculum and delivers the best possible outcomes for students.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

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