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Columbus school board and teachers union to meet Wednesday as strike looms

Columbus City Schools District Office.
Nick Evans
/
WOSU

Updated: August 8, 2022, 4:32 p.m ET

A federal mediator has asked the Columbus Board of Education and the Columbus Education Association to return to the bargaining table Wednesday.

The Columbus Education Association’s legislative assembly voted unanimously last week to issue a 10-day notice of their intent to strike.

That followed several days of public sparing with the school board, including the union criticizing the board for what the board called its final contract offer, and the board filing an unfair labor complaint with the state's Employment Relations Board.

Board members claim the union has spread misinformation about the contract offer as it pertains to class size, recruiting and retaining employees, and the condition of some buildings' HVAC systems. The union denies ever spreading misinformation.

"While we remain focused on starting school with our teachers on August 24, we are prepared for alternate outcomes," said Jacqueline Bryant, spokesperson for Columbus City Schools.

The Columbus Board of Education will have a special meeting on Monday. Members are expected to immediately go into executive session to talk about the looming strike by the teachers’ union.

Any union strike could start as early as August 22, the first day most teachers return to work.

The last time teachers in Columbus went on strike was in 1975.

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.