Group rallies at East Liverpool school board meeting

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – Teachers in East Liverpool are still not happy with the way their contract was implemented by the school board.

The fight between the teachers and school board members has been going on for months now and a rally was held Thursday night to show their dissatisfaction.

In a unanimous vote in April by Board of Education members, the contract offered on March 27, which district officials said was their “last, best offer,” was implemented.

Now, teachers are still working to negotiate a more suitable solution.

Parents joined teachers and staff at the rally Thursday to help send a clear message from the union to the school board that the teachers are willing to negotiate.

“They left it without negotiating and threw the contract in place. That wasn’t right,” said Brian Kerr, parent.

East Liverpool teachers had been working without a contract for most of the school year before the contract was implemented.

The deal included a two percent pay increase every year until 2017 and additional teacher development hours.

“With negotiations, there is going to be a winner and there is going to be a loser. And the situation is going to come out to where nobody is going to be happy, but at least you come to an agreement. At this point they did not,” said Tracy Harman, parent. “They just threw something out there and the teachers had to agree to it, which they did not.”

School Board Vice President Bob Estell said he is skeptical that the teachers are truly willing to compromise.

“They claim they are willing to negotiate, but actually willing to do it is another issue,” Estell said. “We came to an impasse with good reason. They have a right to protest. As far as the school board, we reached an impasse and implemented a contract, and that is the contract we are working with.”

When the school board meeting started at 6 p.m., members and supporters of the union moved their protest inside. They held up signs during the meeting that read “Our Community Deserves Better.”

Since the contract has already been approved, the teachers now hope the rally will help to open the lines of communication.

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