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Columbus, Ohio Teachers Strike: Columbus Teachers Union and School Board Reach 'Conceptual Agreement' to End Strike

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Columbus Educational Association twittersaid it had reached a “general conceptual agreement” at 2:38 a.m.

School Board President Jennifer Adair said the district is looking forward to welcoming students, teachers and staff to school on Monday.

“While details cannot be disclosed at this time, this agreement recognizes the Board’s commitment to improving student achievement, the important work of (Columbus Educational Association) members, and enhancing the learning environment,” Adair said in a statement. said in

On the first day of the new school year at Columbus City Schools, Wednesday will be held online, and classes will be held online for the rest of the week, so teachers will have Thursday and Friday available for planning, Adair explained.

Columbus Education Association spokesperson Regina Fuentes called the agreement a “good deal” and a “win”. She said no details will be released until all members have considered and voted to ratify the conceptual agreement, which will take place over the weekend.

“This strike was about deserving students who deserved a well-balanced curriculum including air-conditioned modern schools, small classes, arts, music and physical education,” Fuentes said at a press conference. Let it be reflected in the history books.”

CNN has reached out to the Columbus School Board for details of the agreement.

The two sides met Wednesday afternoon as they continued to tussle over new contracts for teachers and school staff.

Teachers wanted an 8% pay increase, better heating and air conditioning in the dilapidated building, and smaller classes. The school district had offered her a 3% raise and was reluctant to include language about school improvements in the union contract.

About 4,500 teachers, librarians, counselors and other school personnel were on strike, so school districts relied on deputies to lead virtual classes on Wednesday.

Some students gathered at the Barnett Community Center before any agreement was reached. This is he one of nine locations that the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department has designated as support centers for students to complete their online work. Three students said they hoped a short return to virtual classes in the early days of the pandemic.

“We’re a team school, and we don’t want to go back to virtual,” said Coreaa Taylor, who is entering 9th grade at Walnut Ridge High School.

Jamal Reed, starting grade 8 at Sherwood Middle School, said of virtual learning: “We want to see our friends, but there are things we want to do at school.

“I don’t want to be virtual,” says Lynwood Allison, who started grade 12 at Walnut Ridge.

“When I’m at home, I can’t have the same ambitions. At home, I want to be lazy,” Alison said. .”

But despite their dislike of distance learning, all three said the striking teachers made good points about classroom overcrowding and problems with heating and air conditioning.

Classrooms remain unreasonably hot at Walnut Ridge High School, where Columbus City Schools completed HVAC work in 2018, Alison said.

“Those are saunas,” he said. “Ridge needs a lot of work. Like, a lot of work.”

Why teachers are so active on strike

Construction worker Jazmyne Collins got a Chromebook for her 9-year-old daughter, but said classroom conditions were “just as bad” when she attended school in Columbus City. .

“Sometimes you have to stand by something,” Collins said of teachers. and I am all for it.”

Kelly Freeman, whose five-year-old son Arthur Freeman Green is entering kindergarten near Livingston Elementary School, said he was frustrated and blamed the school board for the impasse.

“He’s never had the opportunity to attend public school before, so I don’t think a virtual school with a replacement teacher is an acceptable option,” she said of Arthur. , deserve fair-compensated teachers with black mold-free, safe and healthy classrooms.”

Freeman said she and her husband were “not going to cross the line.” In other words, it wasn’t intended to have Mr. Arthur logged on to the virtual class. But since she’s self-employed and her husband works from home, she admitted, “Not all parents have the same flexibility that we do.”

School principal Talitha Dixon admitted in a message to families Wednesday night that her first day of school was “less than ideal.”

Dixon said she’s stopped by 25 sites in the district and met families who have gotten takeout meals and Chromebooks.

Students and parents reported difficulty signing into the virtual classroom and staying connected throughout the day. Columbus Dispatch reports an irritating parent who didn’t receive her laptop or her Wi-Fi hotspot on Wednesday and was told to return to where those devices should have been available on Thursday. I was.

“The first day also brought some unexpected challenges. We were determined to prepare for today’s extraordinary start, but fell short in some areas,” Dixon said.

“I want to assure you that our team is working hard to improve our systems and processes to move forward in this unique environment.” We are adjusting our methods and attendance monitoring and will continue to work until these issues are resolved.”

CNN’s Amy Simonson, Kim Berryman, and Lucy Kafanov contributed to this report.

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