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With a possible strike looming, the Columbus teachers' union says the district is done negotiating

 Columbus Education Association members rally outside of school board headquarters July 27, 2022.
Matthew Rand
Columbus Education Association members rally outside of school board headquarters July 27, 2022.

Leaders of the Columbus teachers’ union said the district has made its final contract offer as a possible strike looms.

The union's current contract expires on the first day of the upcoming school year, on August 24. The union has scheduled a vote for August 4 to decide if they want to give 10 days' notice of intent to strike.

In a video posted to Facebook on Thursday, Columbus Education Association president John Coniglio said 12 hours of negotiating on Wednesday were followed by a very brief Thursday meeting.

“In the only joint session of the day lasting exactly one minute, the board’s team declared they were done with bargaining, handed us what they termed a final offer, and they immediately walked out of the building,” Coniglio said.

A district spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Before Thursday the school board had repeatedly said negotiations were ongoing, their contract offers have been fair, and they look forward to having teachers in class on the first day of school.

Union members held two separate rallies outside the school district’s headquarters on Wednesday.

Sticking points in negotiations include teacher pay, class sizes and the condition of some buildings. Several buildings still lack air conditioning, although the district is using federal pandemic relief money to renovate HVAC systems.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.