There were some tense moments Wednesday after a security upgrade at a Reynoldsburg Elementary school left some teachers unable to use their key cards to enter the building.
The glitch in the security upgrade comes two days before scheduled contract talks between the Reynoldsburg Education Association and the Board of Education.
It also happened just as the company, the district hired to help in the event of a teachers strike, toured several schools.
It happened Wednesday morning at Taylor Road Elementary School and the events sent a wave of panic throughout the district and forced the principal to send a note home with students.
Dear Parents and Valued Stakeholders,
Some concerns have been expressed today about some staff members having issues using their key cards to gain access to the building. Learning about this I went out and tested my key to discover mine was having issues as well. After contacting the appropriate district-level officials, we were able to resolve this matter right away. This was nothing more than routine maintenance work on the system. Throughout recess, we as a staff worked together to ensure our children were able to get into the building. As always we at Taylor Road will continue to do what is best for our children to ensure they get the best education possible. Please feel free to contact me with any concerns.
Yours in education,
Parents have been on edge since the Reynoldsburg Education Association voted to authorize its leadership to call a strike.
The board approved a contract with Huffmaster - a company that calls itself a leader in providing strike management solutions.
The company has already placed ads in the Columbus area offering $175 dollars a day for replacement teachers and specialis
Huffmaster has been used in Ohio before.
The hired 250 substitutes when teachers in Strongsville went on strike.
Records show the the school district spent more than $1.1 million for the first two weeks of the teachers strike on services provided by Huffmaster Security.
The Reynoldsburg Education Association issued the following statement in response to Wednesday’s events:
The Reynoldsburg Education Association’s (REA) spokesperson, Kathy Evans, released the following statement on action taken by the Reynoldsburg Board of Education:
“Another day, another disappointing action taken by the administration. By taking unknown, unscreened outsiders from Huffmaster throughout our schools, and deactivating teachers’ key cards at some buildings, it’s clear that the Board’s focus is on creating a confrontation with the teachers rather than working with us on a fair resolution to the contract that our students and the community deserve. We are preparing in earnest for the next bargaining session, and what happened today is not productive.”
The Reynoldsburg Board of Education will meet to continue negotiations on Friday, September 5 at 4:00pm at the Columbus office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). The two sides have been working with a federal mediator to resolve the collective bargaining agreement. This will be the first bargaining session since August 5, 2014. The teachers have started the school year with a contract that expired on July 31, 2014.