Fitzgerald Shows Support For Teachers On Strike

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Gubernatorial candidate, Ed Fitzgerald, showed his support Thursday for the Reynoldsburg teachers that have been on strike for one week after failed contract negotiations.

Fitzgerald said the situation in Reynoldsburg could set a precedent in the future.

“I think there’s a lot of eyes on this district right now,” he said. “The fact that these teachers…yeah they’re fighting for their working conditions, but they are also fighting for smaller class sizes, I think really speaks volumes. That's why they have the kind of community support that they do. I think in some ways this is kind of a bellwether for these kinds of issues.”

Spokesperson for the Reynoldsburg Education Association (REA), Kathy Evans, said the concerns of the teachers haven’t changed since they went on strike on September 19.

“Class size remains one our strongest points that we’re trying to get across,” Evans said. “We would like to see some kind of limit or cap on class sizes. We had 20 percent of our teaching staff resign, retire, or take a leave of absence in the last school year. So we need to address the working conditions that we’re facing. Merit pay is still a concern.”

The school district said their contract focuses on the teachers and rewarding them for their work.

“The board’s contract prioritizes having the flexibility to reward and recognize great teaching and learning,” said Tricia Moore, spokesperson for the Reynoldsburg School District. “It’s really about being able to provide the best available teachers to all of our children. We have many great teachers here in Reynoldsburg and we want to be able to hold them up. We want to be able to attract great teachers and to retain them.”

A federal mediator has been called in to help with upcoming negotiations.

The board and the union are scheduled to meet on Sunday.