Springfield teachers reach tentative agreement

HOLLAND, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Springfield Local School District teachers have decided and the teacher's union have reached a tentative agreement to avoid a strike for teachers.

Teachers will vote on it next week, and it will go to school board for approval.

The contract runs through 2013. Union President Marty Perlaky won't release details of the pact, but says he is very happy with it.

Springfield teachers unanimously voted to authorize their bargaining team to send a ten-day strike notice to the Springfield Board of Education on May 8 at a general membership meeting of the Springfield Education Association.

The SEA reports staff has been in contract negotiations with the board for almost a year, working without a contract since last June.

The Springfield Education Association represents 233 certified classroom teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, psychologists, and other education professionals employed by the Springfield Board of Education.

Springfield Education Association President Marty Perlaky says the notice had been thought out carefully:

"It would be very difficult for parents; it would be very difficult for teachers. Taking a 10-day strike notice is not something that this association takes lightly at all."

After 11 months of negotiations and a fact finder recommendation that was approved by the teacher's union, but turned down by the Board of Education, both sides appear to be at a standstill.

The Education Association, however, says if an agreement can be reached in the 10-day window, a strike can be avoided.

"Hopefully we get back to the negotiating table and we get this settled and don't have to act on that 10-day strike notice. That is our position, we do not want to strike but if we have to, we are fully prepared and ready to do that." Perlaky explained.

The Springfield Local School Board met Wednesday night, after the districts teachers' union voted to approve a ten day strike authorization, meaning union leaders could issue a ten day strike notice if an agreement is not reached by May 11.

The meeting lasted just five minutes before board members went into executive session to discuss a fact finder's report.  More than 100 teachers showed up at the meeting and sat silently as a show of solidarity, they said.

Last month, teachers ratified a fact finding report, which included a two year salary freeze and an increase in healthcare benefits.

"From our standpoint, we are just really committed to reaching a fair settlement with our teachers in light of the economic conditions that we're facing, and to be fiscally responsible, which we owe the tax payers in our community." said Springfield Superintendent Kathryn Hott.

"We've made concession is wages, we've made concessions in heath care, we've made concessions in personal days.  We understand that there is a financial problem in this district, and we are ready willing and able to help the district in that problem. But at one point or another you have to draw that line and say enough is enough, and that's the point where we're at right now," said Springfield Education Association President Marty Perlaky. 

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