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Cleveland Heights-University Heights District and teachers union reach tentative agreement

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education
Posted at 2:46 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 14:46:07-05

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — After weeks of discussions, a tentative agreement has been reached between the Cleveland Heights-University Heights (CH-UH) School District Board and the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union.

According to a joint statement from the CH-UH Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, school board President Jodi Sourini and union president Karen Rego, an agreement was reached after late-night talks Tuesday continued into the morning on Wednesday.

“We are happy that a strike was averted and students’ education will not be interrupted," they said in the statement. "Above all else, we are relieved that our teachers will be exactly where they’re needed - with their students."

In this case, a tentative agreement means that bargaining teams reached an agreement on the contract’s terms, but the contract is not yet verified.

Multiple union members showed up in the cold this morning as part of a picket line that News 5 covered.

Before the tentative agreement was reached, teachers expressed frustration with the district’s contract proposal, saying they weren’t being compensated fairly. The CHTU, which represents around 500 teachers, counselors, nurses and other employees in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, said the contract proposal slashed retirement and health benefits for teachers, estimated to cost members between $3,000 to $5,000 a year.

"We love the students in Cleveland Heights-University Heights. We love these families. They're worth it, and they deserve quality educators who are compensated fairly for what they do,” said strike captain Daniel Hershman-Rossi during the picket line on Wednesday.

The district defended its earlier proposal by saying the offer was fair, equitable and competitive. The district said it needs collaboration by all because it is facing a fiscal crisis created by factors out of its control, including EdChoice vouchers and the State of Ohio’s decision to cut funding.

The district and the union said updates will be given as it "moves forward as a united front against unfair EdChoice voucher laws and as proponents of fair school funding."

Read the full joint statement here.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Cleveland Heights Teachers Union says they’ve ‘made some progress’ in contract negotiations after going on strike