Columbus school board, teachers’ union reach “conceptual agreement” to end strike

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COLUMUBS, Ohio (WOSU) — The Columbus school board and the district’s teachers’ union have reached a “conceptual agreement” to end the strike that began Monday.

The Columbus Education Association said the agreement was reached Thursday at 2:38 a.m., more than 13 hours after negotiations began on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are very excited to bring this to our membership for ratification,” said CEA president John Coneglio in a Facebook video. “Thank you everybody for coming out and supporting us on our picket, and members, check your email.”

The district said students will return to in-person instruction on Monday. Students will remain in online learning for Thursday and Friday, August 25-26.

“The last few months have been devoted to finding resolution and a strong plan forward with the Columbus Education Association (CEA) in shared support of our children,” Columbus school board president Jennifer Adair said in a statement.

“While the details cannot yet be disclosed, the contract recognizes the Board’s commitment to improving our student outcomes, the essential work of the CEA members, and strengthening our learning environments,” Adair said.

There is no word on what concessions were made during the negotiations.

The tentative agreement comes a day after the first day of school for most students.

The school year began remotely because of the strike, and the day was marred by some technical issues as students tried to log on for class.

Teachers picket along W. Henderson Rd. next to Whetstone High School.
Teachers picket along W. Henderson Rd. next to Whetstone High School. The Columbus Education Association has told its members not to report to picket lines Thursday following a conceptual agreement reached with Columbus City Schools. [Matthew Rand | WOSU]
The District experienced outages or reduced capabilities with its Infinite Campus system from approximately 7:30 a.m. to approximately 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, a district spokeswoman said in a statement.

The disruptions could have prevented students and parents from accessing their student or parent portals but did not impact other systems such as student email, Canvas, Google Classroom or other learning applications, she said.

Attendance data was expected to be a day behind for most students, as Infinite Campus marks all students “present” by default until they are manually marked “absent.”

To be marked “present” for the day, a student must have attended a synchronous Zoom session, unless they did not have access to a computer.

The spokeswoman said they will have additional tech support available at meal site locations across the district Thursday.

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