COLUMBUS, Ohio—In a matter of minutes, on Monday, the Columbus City School Board sealed the deal on months of negotiations with the Columbus Education Association by unanimously voting to approve a contract.
- Columbus City Schools and its teachers reached a deal on a new contract after more than three months of negotiations
- Now, teachers have a three-year contract, costing the district just under $100 million
- One thing the district would not budge on was cutting out tax abatements for companies coming to the city
Superintendent Talisa Dixon said this was the first time in 10 years they've agreed to a three -year contract.
She said that it was important to help provide stability.
“That was very important to me that we honor teachers, show them that we value them... and one of those ways is having a longer-term contract," said Dixon.
Teachers marched multiple times this year, demanding better pay, resources, and smaller classroom sizes. Now they're getting it.
- pay increase of 3 percent each year, which will be retroactive
- eduction in class sizes for grades K-3 they haven't seen in 25 years, but the reduction will be phased in starting in the 2020-21 school year
- additional early childhood education teachers
- 60 additional student support professionals, which such as nurses, social workers, and intervention specialists
Excited about the new contract, Dixon said, “I love that we have embedded professional development. I think that is so important for our teachers and we are creating this culture of learning that's happening all the time. So, teachers get to go and visit some of their other colleagues, perhaps."
While this won't solve every issue, Dixon believes it'll take some of the pressure off and help teachers focus on teaching the content they got a degree for.
"If we have other areas of specialization that we can get other employees to come in, experts to come in with those specialized skills to help our students, that's what we want," said Dixon.
Schools can also expect space, along with staffing, to be provided for trauma-related in-school discipline as an alternative to out-of-school suspension for kids in grades 7-12.
They'll also see the elimination of interim report cars district wide.
And for the first time —
- non-birth parents will get 15 days of parental leave
- there will be limited class sizes for elementary unified arts classes
- Pre-K teachers will get contractual planning time
Although the CEA says they didn't get everything they wanted, they believe it's a huge step forward.
One thing the district would not budge on was cutting out tax abatements for companies coming to the city. Superintendent Dixon told reporters that both sides agreed it was a non-labor issue, so the discussion was taken off of the table.
In the meantime, Dixon said this was a win for students, teachers and the community. Now that they have an agreement, which has already taken affect, they can focus on their strategic goals. Those include increasing student proficiency in literacy and math, along with increasing graduation rates.