Reynoldsburg Teachers, School Board Prepare For Weekend Talks To End Strike

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With each day Reynoldsburg teachers are on strike, they receive no salary and no benefits. 

On Thursday, the superintendent responded to claims that negotiations were postponed until the budget recuperated the more than $360,000 for substitute teachers and security cost.

Superintendent Tina Thomas-Manning says she is offended by the claims.  “Every minute, every hour that passes with this strike and teachers on the line, teachers are in the classrooms with temporary subs.  We are doing damage to our children emotionally (and) to our community that no money is able to repair.”

She may want teachers back in classrooms, but Thomas-Manning tells 10TV the district can't afford the 16 additional positions that she says the teachers' proposal calls for.

Reynoldsburg teachers vowed to strike until they see class size caps applied and drop the offer of performance -based raises.  Demonstrations have even left teachers blocking the cars from entering school grounds.

Meanwhile, parents are now getting involved. One parent filed a complaint claiming that the schools are not safe for children and should close during the remainder of the strike.

"... students would probably be safer outside the schools on the picket lines with their teachers than they are inside the school buildings with the lack of supervision and lack of qualified substitute workers," the complaint reads.

“We know that we are role models, whether on the picket line or in the classrooms,” says REA spokeswoman Kathy Evans, who says parents and students understand.  "Teachers are picketing outside of each Reynoldsburg school; they're also on strike here, at the administration building.  But if you step inside, you'd see they're still hiring new substitute teachers.”

The district is struggling to bring the number of substitutes from 215 to 300 or more in case the next round of talks on Sunday doesn't find resolution.

Evans says teachers are cautiously optimistic and no matter which way things go, families are now more plugged into the school district than ever.  "We have a community that is awake," she says.

The school board's contract proposal would cost $9.5 million over three years.

The teachers’ counterproposal would cost the district about $12 million.

While state funding increased last year, the superintendent says the school can't rely on state funding trends and can't afford that extra $2.5 million.

To accept the teachers’ proposal, officials say the district would have to ask the community for another levy by 2017.