Parents to rally over teacher contract talks

Parents and teachers rallied Friday in front of the Springboro Board of Education in support of the district’s teachers and in opposition to the school board.

Despite blustery winds, about 100 supporters of the teachers union gathered in the parking lot of the building where representatives from the board and teachers union met Friday for contract negotiations.

“I came to support the teachers,” said Erin Faessler, whose daughter Reilly is a sixth grader at Springboro Intermediate School. “They deserve to get a raise and be treated fairly.”

Previously the board has said it needs to retain savings in payroll and health costs negotiated in agreements reached since expiration of the 2008 contract to maintain a balanced budget.

“Those are terms we just can’t afford,” Board Vice President Jim Rigano said earlier this year.

Board President Kelly Kohls declined comment afterward and Rigano couldn’t be reached.

Teachers from other districts also joined the rally.

“The negotiating team really appreciates it,” Scott Maney, union president, said.

Each speaker received an ovation from the crowd after voicing support for the teachers.

“We’re not done. We’re going to keep fighting for you,” said Dave Bowman, a parent and organizer of the rally.

The rally followed a series of public statements by the board, despite state laws regulating public discussion of ongoing negotiations involving public employee unions.

The State Employee Relations Board (SERB) is considering an unfair labor relations complaint filed by the Ohio Education Association and the Springboro union after the board issued press releases about attempts to start early negotiations.

The SERB board has yet to hear the complaint.

The school board said it posted the initial proposals to dispel rumors expected to follow the contract negotiations. The board wants to negotiate a contract in anticipation of joining with teachers to pass a $9.2 million renewal levy, Rigano said.

However Bowman said the board is bent on forcing the union to strike, allowing it to hire replacement workers.

Since expiration of the 2008 contract, teachers and support staff have been working under memorandums of understanding, set to expire in June.

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