Akron Board of Education Prepares for Potential Teacher Strike

The Akron Board of Education is preparing the school district for a potential teacher strike, including making a decision about the potential continuation of classroom activities in the event of a strike.

The board passed several resolutions after a lengthy executive session on Thursday, including giving the superintendent the authority to: hire a “crisis response firm”; look for additional substitute teachers; and continue learning remotely if deemed necessary. All this in the case of the Educational Association, Akron goes on strike if a deal can’t be done by Jan. 9; this is 10 days after the union filed its strike notice (which it filed on Thursday).

Under the ordinances, the district could close its buildings to the general public in the event of a strike, while still hiring staff and purchasing the equipment necessary to continue operations. The Council wrote that “It is important to the educational, social and emotional well-being of Akron School District students that learning continues through online learning in the event of an Akron Education Association strike.”

The crisis response firm that the county would hire is called Huffmaster Crisis Response LLC. The firm has been contracted by other school districts in Ohio that have faced teacher strikes in recent years and will be used to provide “security and personnel services” in the event of a shutdown.

“The Board deems it necessary and appropriate to supplement its security and safety forces by hiring a firm to supplement existing security and safety personnel with the services of a firm experienced in securing school staff and property in the event of any interruption of school staff,” the ruling reads. .

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter of concern to the Niles City School District after they hired the same company earlier this year to deal with a potential strike.

“…We are concerned that the Board has decided to approve a contract with Huffmaster Crisis Response — time and resources that could otherwise be spent on investments in students, faculty and school facilities,” Brown said at the time.

The teachers’ union and the school administration are at odds over issues such as teachers’ salaries, school safety, etc., as relations have seriously deteriorated in recent months.

The Akron Education Association said yesterday that the school administration spent money on extravagant trips and meals, and the head of the school district does not live in the city, but rents a hotel room near the central office.

Mark Williamson, director of marketing and communications for Akron Public Schools, said on Friday that “most of the claims…if not all” in the teachers’ union press release containing the claims were “clearly wrong.”

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