AKRON, Ohio – Akron Public Schools is continuing negotiations with the Akron Education Association, the union that represents the district’s teachers, following the union’s issuance of a 10-day strike authorization this week, the district announced.
The 10-day strike authorization is notice of the union’s intent to strike in 10 days — Jan. 9, 2023. During that time, both sides will prepare for a strike while also working toward reaching an agreement on all outstanding contract issues, according to the district.
Akron Public School teachers have been working without a contract since July. While both parties have reached tentative agreement on many issues, several remain, including: wages, health insurance, additional unrestricted personal leave days and “more specific provisions for the definition of student assault as outlined in the impartial fact finder’s report,” according to a statement from the district.
School safety has been an ongoing issue in contract negotiations following recent incidents of violence and bomb threats in the district. These incidents led Akron Education Association President Pat Shipe to say the schools are “not safe” in a news release. Following the incidents, the district announced it is working to update and install more safety equipment and security.
To help communicate with parents, the district on Friday launched a website that answers frequently asked questions about its strike preparation. Key components of the district’s plans include transitioning to online instruction, while continuing to offer meals, emergency childcare and mental/physical health resources for students and families if a strike occurs.
In the event of a strike, the district will pivot to online learning, according to the website. Students will be required to complete the learning, which includes opportunities for them to meet online with an adult and independently complete online lessons at their own pace. While in-person instruction is preferred, the online learning aligns with the district’s approved blended learning plan.
Designated support centers
The district has designated nine schools to offer support and assistance to students and their families in the event of a strike. Four locations will provide meal pick-up, tech support and health services. Five locations will provide meal pick-up, tech support, health services and child care for pre-registered families.
Special education learning
Students in the district’s MD and Achieve classes will receive paper assignments to complete and return to school. Questions can be directed to the Office of Special Education at 330-761-3146.
School sports and clubs
In the event of a strike, all sports practices, competitions and after-school clubs will be temporarily suspended, according to the district.
The district will offer a limited number of seats at Student Support Center locations for families that need emergency childcare. If a strike appears imminent, the district will launch a pre-registration process for families as soon as possible.
The district will continue to provide transportation for eligible students enrolled in non-APS schools in the event the strike occurs. Examples include students enrolled in non-APS charter, community, private, non-public or parochial schools, and students with special needs who attend non-district schools.
Classes offered through colleges or universities will not be impacted by a potential teacher strike. College courses taught by APS teachers will not be held during the strike, but may have an adjusted timeline, according to the district.
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