Woodmore teachers limit hours at school until contract negotiations settled

Woodmore teachers limit hours at school until contract negotiations settled

ELMORE, OH (WTOL) - Teachers in Woodmore have been negotiating a new contract for months. With no resolution in sight they're cutting back their hours, but is the district turmoil impacting students?

Woodmore teachers showed up in full force to the school board meeting Tuesday night in hopes of getting a fair and equitable contract for this school year.

"We just want a contract that is reasonable that respects what teachers do with our students," said Carla Smith Woodmore Education Association co-president.

Both the district and the Woodmore Education Association are unable to speak about the specifics of the contract because of negotiations that have been ongoing for about four and a half months and will continue as no deal has been made.

"We're working through those," said Superintendent Tim Rettig. "We have differing philosophys of how to support our kids, but we are working through those and that's where we are at right now."

In response to the stalled negotiations, teachers are only working contracted hours, a move called "work to rule."

For example, an elementary teacher is now working just from 8:15am to 3:45 pm and not after that time.

Despite the message the WEA is trying to send, they say students and their learning experience is still the top priority.

"Because we are professionals, we work really hard at prioritizing what needs done so there's the least amount of impact to our students," said Tammy Kissell, WEA co-president. "Our students are first and we have done everything possible to make sure that they don't feel those effects of what we've chosen to do."

In light of this move from the WEA, the district said nothing has changed for students.

"They are still caring about your kids and still caring about the things that are educationally important to your student. I firmly believe the WEA wouldn't do anything that is detrimental to your kid,"  said Tim Rettig, Woodmore's Superintendent.

Parents say their students haven't noticed a change in the classroom.

Kelly O'Connor, a parent of a freshman at Woodmore High School, said she stands with the teachers and wants to see a contract soon.

"The teachers are to me a foundation of the district, not the board," said O'Connor. "The board is elected by the public and the teachers work for our kids and they kids are what it's all about."

In a written statement, the WEA expressed their frustration and hopes for a deal, come November's negotiations.

"We can't comment at this time on the specifics of negotiations. After 4 and a half months, we can simply say we are looking to settle a contract that demonstrates that our Board respects and values the commitment and dedication of our teachers," The lack of respect and turmoil in our district has been ongoing for several years and members are at a point where we feel we need to stand together. Our membership has been the targeted and treated in an unfair and biased manner from our Board of education. We have endured unfair labor practices, issues with our pay/contracts, threats of unwarranted discipline, ongoing intimidation, and false criminal charges based on information that was obtained illegally. We are hopeful that when we return to the table on November 9th our Board of Education will negotiate a fair contract our members will approve. A contract that demonstrates how integral Woodmore teachers are to this district."

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