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No sign of deal between Columbus school board and teachers after last scheduled negotiation

Columbus Education Association practice strike.JPG
Matthew Rand
Columbus Education Association members march in a "practice" strike outside the Columbus Board of Education meeting August 16.

Thursday is the last day of scheduled contract negotiations between the Columbus school board and the teachers union, which has threatened to go on strike if a deal can't be reached.

Talks started around 8 a.m. Thursday, and, as of 3 p.m., no agreement had emerged.

Reportedly some progress was made on a couple of items during Tuesday's negotiations, but the board and teachers union remain far apart on several items, including compensation.

Columbus Education Association spokeswoman Regina Fuentes said teachers also want guarantees that HVAC work and other building improvements will actually happen.

"We're willing to take this fight as far as it needs to go in order to get those schools because we know that our students have put up with these conditions far too long," she said.

If teachers do go on strike, the district plans to start the school year remotely, led by hundreds of non-union substitute teachers.

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.