Columbus teacher strike ends after agreement

Education

Students show support for their striking teachers outside Whetstone High School in Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022. A strike by teachers in Ohio’s largest school district entered its third day Wednesday — the first day of school for some 47,000 students, with some of those students and their parents rallying to their sides. (AP Photo/Samantha Hendrickson)

(NewsNation) — The Columbus City Schools teacher strike has officially ended, and teachers will head back to the classroom on Monday.

The strike began Sunday, just before the school year started on Wednesday. Teacher absences heavily disrupted the first day of school, ultimately leading to a conceptual agreement announced Thursday between the 4,500-member Columbus Education Association and Ohio’s largest public school district.

“We are happy to report that we have reached a conceptual agreement with CEA leaders, and our children will return to in-person instruction on Monday,” Board of Education President Jennifer Adair said in a statement. “While the details cannot yet be disclosed, the contract recognizes the Board’s commitment to improving our student outcomes, the essential work of the CEA members, and strengthening our learning environments.”

The Columbus Education Associated posted on Twitter early Thursday morning stating that the agreement was reached at 2:38 a.m. ET. The post read: “CEA Members: Do not report to picket sites in the morning, check your email for further instructions.”

Neither side has disclosed the terms of the preliminary deal.

The union is expected to meet this weekend to vote on the contract which will then need to be approved by the school board. Major issues that influenced the strike include class sizes, building conditions, availability of arts and physical education classes and pay.

Mayor Andrew Ginther took to Twitter, commending the union and school district for “putting our children first.”

He followed up his initial statement by acknowledging the positive changes the new contract will provide for students and essential education workers.

The 47,000 students that started the school year remotely on Wednesday will continue virtual learning for the rest of the week.

The union said more than 94% of its members voted to reject the school board’s final offer late Sunday and members took to picket lines for the first time since 1975.

NewsNation affiliate WCMH and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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