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Westlake teachers vote to strike, if necessary

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Posted at 6:05 PM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 18:05:53-04

The Westlake Teacher's Union took a vote and plan to strike, if necessary.

If the teacher's strike, the strike would begin on Aug. 18 if no agreement can be reached between the union and school district. Aug. 18 is the first day of the new school year for teachers and staff.

All school activities will stop June 27.

This comes after more than a year of negotiations between the school board and the teachers' union.

The Westlake school board argued that the union's proposal contributed to deficit spending.

Westlake School released this statement on Wednesday:

We are deeply disappointed that the teachers union issued a notice to go on strike.  After one full year of negotiation and numerous proposals back and forth, we made a fair offer to the teachers union.

Our last best offer included salary increases every year and healthcare changes that will actually decrease the contributions that teachers and the district currently pay.  The offer also eliminated a cash reimbursement for working spouses of employees that take health insurance provided by the spouse’s employer. In contrast, the teachers union’s last proposal includes “step” raises every year, and an additional raise next year (2016-2017) amounting to a 5% increase in one year alone.  Their counter proposal spends $1.7M more than our last best offer, accelerating our deficit spending.   That is unsustainable considering our budget and three failed levy attempts.

The Westlake Schools administrative team is working diligently to ensure that there is no gap in programs or classes that have already started for the summer.  Our sincere hope is that the teachers that agreed to work this summer will honor that contract, but in the event that they do not, we will find experienced, qualified coverage. We will reach out to individual parents and groups to inform them of the transition plans, as necessary.

We sincerely hope that the union will reconsider their position so we can focus on planning our next school year. In the meantime, we will keep you informed of developments.