The Springboro school board said on Thursday it would hire replacements if the teachers union went on strike.
“I will proceed with an aggressive and proactive contingency plan to ensure that Springboro schools remain open,” Superintendent Todd Petrey said in a prepared statement.
Petrey comments after Thursday’s school board meeting came in response to a Wednesday vote by the union representing the district’s teachers and support staff.
The Springboro Education Association voted to give its negotiating team authority to file a 10-day strike notice if contract talks fail to result in a settlement.
“Our hope is that we reach an agreement with the Board and there is not a need to issue a strike notice, but the SEA membership feels that it is necessary to take precautionary measures in the event an agreement cannot be reached,” Josh Cawein, spokesman for the union, said in a statement announcing the vote Wednesday. The association represents almost 330 educators employed by the Springboro Community City School District.
The school board is seeking significant concessions on salary, insurance, and working conditions, according to the union.
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.
“The students in this community deserve a safe, inviting and challenging learning environment. I intend to make sure that is provided, regardless of the outcome of our current negotiations,” Petrey said Thursday.
Since expiration of the 2008 contract, teachers and support staff have been working under memorandums of understanding expiring on June 30.
“Our professional educators take great pride in delivering quality instruction to the students in the Springboro Schools. In the past, Springboro educators have partnered with the Board to temporarily reduce district personnel costs through the recent recession. However, we cannot continue in this direction and expect to attract and retain quality educators,” Cawein said in the statement.
The announcement of the strike preparations and board response were the latest in a series of public statements on usually private negotiations. The teachers union brought an unfair labor practice complaint after the board issued releases about attempts to get an early start on negotiations. The complaint is still pending with the State Employee Relations Board (SERB).