Dear CH-UH Families and Community,
I’m disappointed to inform you that the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union has given the District a notice of their intent to strike. We expect their strike to begin on December 2. We do not yet know how long the strike will last.
The move to strike is unfortunate given our good faith efforts to negotiate a fair and fiscally responsible contract with the union. Our final offer continues to provide fair and competitive compensation and benefits for our union members while being responsible to you and all of our taxpayers. An action like this does not serve our students, our community, staff, teachers, or other represented members.
Students’ education must and will continue. Students will continue their studies remotely as they have been doing in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This document contains a general overview of what families should expect when the strike begins. Additional details will follow next week.
We firmly believe our CH-UH schools have some of the best and brightest teachers in the classroom, and we have nothing but the highest respect for them and what they do for our students every day. However, we recognize that we face a fiscal crisis created by factors beyond our control, including EdChoice vouchers and the State of Ohio’s decision to make cuts to our district funding.
The official results show that the Heights community has narrowly passed our 4.8-mill operating levy. However, as the Lay Finance Committee indicated
in July, this millage was the bare minimum needed to keep the District afloat, and only if paired with $2 million in additional cuts for Fiscal Year 2022. Our financial situation remains dire. The district faces an $8 million deficit in Fiscal Year 2023 unless systemic cost savings are made in the interim. The board has a responsibility to make fair decisions for the welfare of our students, their families, staff, teachers, other union members and the community.
The compromises we have asked for are reasonable. The healthcare plan currently in place is out of line with those of any comparable school district, as is the Board’s pick-up of 1 percent of the teachers’ mandatory retirement contribution. Our offer aligns the union’s healthcare and retirement contributions with other similar-sized school districts.
These are extraordinary times that call for meaningful collaboration from all. We have met with the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union for more than 60 hours since the start of summer to reach an acceptable contract. Our final offer is fair, equitable and competitive and continues to provide all our union members with top tier compensation and health benefits. In response, the Union proposed an offer that would still cost the District nearly $1 million a year. That proposal, which only exacerbates the District’s grim financial reality, was rejected.
Because we could not reach agreement on the critical financial terms, on September 29, the Board voted to implement
our last, best, final offer, which remains in effect. The Union thereafter asked the Board to come back to the bargaining table, which it did, only to be presented with an offer that would cost the District approximately $3.5 million over two years. That proposal was also rejected.
I will keep you updated when we have new information to report. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to email [email protected]
Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education