Campbell teachers considering strike

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It’s a perfect storm of sorts for Campbell City Schools with a projected financial deficit, retiring leadership and an impasse in teacher contract negotiations.

Members of the Campbell Education Association showed a sign of solidarity on Tuesday by wearing black t-shirts with “solidarity” written on them to the Campbell Board of Education meeting. The 93 teachers in the union will vote Wednesday morning on whether to issue an intent to strike notice to the state.

Negotiations began March 18 and an impasse was declared by both sides on May 6.

The teachers’ contract expired July 1 and after two meetings in June with a federal mediator, the board imposed its last, best offer on the CEA.

Campbell City Schools Superintendent Thomas Robey said the district received a letter from the Ohio Department of Education dated June 25 that said the district would have a deficit balance in fiscal year 2014. He said because of that letter, the board believed further discussions on the remaining issues would not be productive and could jeopardize the district’s financial stability.

“With the contract implementation, the board cut off all discussion, and so what we are asking is that the board send their negotiating team back to the table,” said CEA spokeswoman Colleen Joss.

Robey said the board is willing to negotiate.

“It takes two parties to go to the table. We’re willing to go there, and we just need to see if we can’t get the conditions met so we can get to the table to talk,” he said.

According to a flier passed out by the union, Robey negotiated the last two-year teachers’ contract in which teachers took a wage freeze and increased their health care and retirement contributions to save the district money. However, the union claims Robey then allocated a two-step increase on the pay scale for school administrators.

The union also claims the district is paying two superintendents because Robey guided the district to hire a superintendent for the 2013-14 school year even though his contract does not expire until July 2014. They claim he is asking the board to waive his superintendent contract and instead hire him as a “consultant” through December.

The Board of Education is holding a special meeting July 29 to discuss the superintendent’s contract.

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