Strike or not, Dayton schools will open Aug. 15

Dayton Public Schools will be open for the Aug. 15 start of school, regardless of whether teachers are on strike, Superintendent Rhonda Corr said.

DPS is working with a company called Alternative Workforce, Inc., a subsidiary of the strike-staffing company Huffmaster, which has provided teachers to other school districts that have had strikes.

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Alternative Workforce Inc. is running advertisements in this week’s Dayton Daily News, “accepting applications for long and short term substitute teacher positions that may become available due to a possible labor dispute at a school district in Montgomery County.”

“Our No. 1 priority is to avert a strike,” Corr said. “We love our teachers (and) want to go to the bargaining table on Aug. 3. I wish we could go today or yesterday or a month ago to finish this deal. I don’t think we’re that far away, and I think if we come together, we will strike a deal.

“But when you’re in these situations, just like any other district across the United States, you have to be ready, because our job is to provide education for children,” Corr continued. “So schools will be open. There will be a strike plan in place. I don’t want to use it.”

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David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association teachers union, confirmed he had seen the ads. He said the union has a members meeting Aug. 1, and if teachers agree on that day, they will give DPS the 10-day notice that is legally required before a strike.

“While the DEA was hopeful an agreement would be reached during the summer, that has yet to occur,” Romick said Wednesday. “On Aug. 1, the DEA membership will take an actual strike vote, setting into motion the ability to strike should mediation on Aug 3, 7, and/or 9 not produce a tentative agreement.”

The teachers are currently scheduled for “professional development” training days on Aug. 10-11 and a required work day Aug. 14, the day before school begins.

The teachers’ existing contract expired June 30. The district and its teachers union have been negotiating on and off since January, but have not reached a deal. According to the union, key issues have been pay (after step raises were frozen for four years), support staffing such as guidance counselors and librarians, the move to five-day per week preschool, and more.

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