There's always a path to compromise
Coming to an agreement during contract negotiations can be a long, tough road. Both sides begin negotiations with the intention of finding a settlement quickly. As negotiations move along, however, finding times to meet and agreeing on language that both sides can accept takes longer than anyone expects.
There are moments of good discussion and mutual agreement, and there are other moments when union and management strongly disagree. In the end, it’s all about compromise. Neither side will get everything they desire, but ultimately both sides will achieve some of what they want.
The path to the current agreement between the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) and Cleveland Heights Teachers Union was long and, sometimes, arduous. But our bargaining team strongly believed that we were never at an impasse. The union always trusted that there was a way to reach an agreement.
We negotiated for months. The last, 13-hour, overnight session took us down to the wire. There were moments when we thought an agreement might not be reached. But neither side gave up; both sides pushed on.
Both the BOE and the union walked away from the table feeling that a good compromise had been reached. We know we have more work to do to fix the financial crisis that the state of Ohio has created through EdChoice vouchers. But contract negotiations are over, and now is the time to fight this particular crisis together.
House Bill 305 passed the Ohio House overwhelmingly, and now moves on to the Ohio Senate. Its proposed new funding system would give our district some relief from having to allocate local taxes to subsidize private schools. Under the proposed funding bill, voucher payments would come directly from the state.
Local public schools are funded primarily through property taxes. This money should remain with our public schools.
Because of an inequitable funding system, the CH-UH school district is forced to put levies on the ballot every few years. It’s time for the state to fix school funding, and provide the relief that our public schools need and that our children deserve.
Karen Rego has taught grades K–8 in the CH-UH school district, and currently provides math and language support at Monticello Middle School. She is the president of Cleveland Heights Teachers Union.