More than 100 Dayton Public Schools teachers walked out of a school board meeting en masse Wednesday night, the second straight month that they’ve walked out to hold a rally on the street corner outside.
Contract negotiations between the school district and the Dayton Education Association — which represents teachers, counselors, therapists and others — have dragged on since January. The existing contract expires June 30.
Dayton teachers union President David Romick said Wednesday that there has been some progress in mediation in the past week, but that major issues remain. He also said that further mediation dates are not confirmed. In mediation, the two sides are separate, with the mediator carrying proposals back and forth.
“We’re looking to continue mediation into the summer and hopefully get this done,” Romick said.
DPS Superintendent Rhonda Corr has joined the district’s negotiation team in the past week, and also cited progress in recent days.
“Sometimes when it gets down to the nitty gritty, superintendents get involved,” Corr said. “I was in touch with David Romick today, and we’re setting up to get a mediator. If we can get back to the table (Thursday), I’d be the happiest person. I’m willing to work weekends, late hours, whatever it takes. We are serious about it, and we do respect our teachers.”
The union has given its leadership the OK to issue a strike notice if necessary, although any strike likely wouldn’t begin until the start of the school year Aug. 15.
Dayton Public Schools’ last day of classes this year is Friday. The union is urging teachers to take home any personal belongings that they use in the classroom, rather than leaving them at school this summer. Last week, union officials called the possibility of a strike in August “very real.”
At Wednesday’s rally, teachers chanted, “No contract, no work” and “Union busting’s got to go” as RTA drivers and others honked in support as they drove by. Romick repeatedly mentioned how much support teachers had in the community.
“We will get through this together and become even stronger through this process, while looking forward to the day when we can return to school to greet the eager faces of our children,” he said.
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