- Independence High School
Board of Education Statement Regarding Last, Best, and Final Offer to CEA
Statement of No Agreement
Tonight, we are disappointed to report that after 22 negotiating sessions since March, we remain unable to reach an agreement with the Columbus Education Association on a new contract. On August 10, I was clear in my remarks: It takes two willing parties to successfully negotiate. That has unfortunately not been the case throughout the past five months, and it was certainly not the case tonight.
Tonight we presented our last, best, and final offer for CEA to consider. The offer is strong; it is responsive to the concerns that have been raised; and it reflects how vital our teachers and certificated staff members are to our district.
It’s time for a vote on this offer.
We ask that CEA present the offer fully to their members and give them an opportunity to vote on it on August 21 so that our schools can open their doors to our students next week.
To reflect our commitment to our teachers, our last, best, and final offer includes further additions to address concerns that have been raised. These include:
- Increased staffing in important areas such as school nurses, psychologists, and speech language pathologists.
- Giving teachers additional planning days in the 2024 and 2025 school years.
- A commitment to have CEA at the table to address equity-based staffing.
These are in addition to the original offer that includes:
- Guaranteed base salary increases of 3% each year for three years in addition to step increases based on employee experience. For example, by the end of this three-year contract, a teacher who last school year was paid the district’s average salary of $74,000 will be earning more than $91,000 – a 23% increase from the start of the contract. Guaranteed.
- A retention and recruitment bonus of $2,000.
- New, paid family leave, above and beyond employees’ sick leave.
- Additional time for special education teachers to complete required paperwork and meet with parents and students.
- A board-paid continuing education program for teachers to complete coursework to achieve licensure in high-need areas and additional money for teachers who volunteer to teach in high-need positions.
Our offer is responsive to our teachers’ commitment to their students and their success. That is one area that we agree on. Simply put, Columbus City Schools students deserve the best. And that’s what we strive to provide them by keeping student outcomes at the heart of our work.
What our students do not deserve is for their teachers to strike. No one wins in a strike. Not the school district, not the teachers, not the community, and certainly not our students. A strike will have widespread and long-term consequences that are felt throughout our schools and the Columbus community.
It is unfair to create this disruption – and we’ve brought CEA an offer that should prevent that. That is why we are asking union leaders to present this last, best, and final offer to their members and give them the ultimate say on their contract. It is our hope CEA members will seriously consider the offer, show up to vote, and start the year in their classrooms.