Tuesday, December 05, 2000

Teacher slowdown negligible

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It was education as usual Monday in Winton Woods schools, where the district's teachers initiated a work slowdown until a new contract is signed.

        “It was pretty much like normal,” said Stevie Lawler, president of the Winton Woods Teachers' Association.

        “There wasn't anything outstanding that happened.”

        Said Superintendent Thomas L. Richey: “I saw no effect whatsoever.”

        During the slowdown, teachers plan to adhere strictly to the terms of their old contract, which expired July 31.

        That means no extra voluntary work designing curriculum, evaluating textbooks and serving on continuous improvement committees,nor other tasks will be done.

        Negotiations have been at an impasse since October, and a State Employee Relations Board fact-finder is scheduled to meet with the bargaining teams Jan. 12.

        Meanwhile, teacher and district representatives agreed to meet with a new federal mediator in an interim bargaining session Dec. 11.

        Neither side has revealed specifics about the issues that separate them.

        “We really can't, because once you bring in a mediator, you shouldn't discuss negotiations in public anyway,” Mr. Richey said.

        “My only comment has been there needs to be a lot of realism relative to compensation as it is in the private sector.

        “I just hope that realism takes over on all sides.”

        Meanwhile, Mrs. Lawler said, “The superintendent and all other administrators have received raises during the time that we have been negotiating.”

        But it's much more than an economic issue, she said, citing differences over class size and retirement benefits.

        Under their old contract, teachers received a 3 percent raise each year for three years.

        The teachers' association represents more than 90 percent of the district's 300 teachers, she said, and most are participating in the slowdown.


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