US: HVAC is a major hang-up for Columbus teachers union

Ohio must stop funding school bureaucracy and put kids first |Opinion

  Ohio must stop funding school bureaucracy and put kids first |Opinion Educational reforms would give students the 'school supplies' they need to learn after the pandemic drop in test scores, Greg Lawson writes.As Ohio students head back to school, state policymakers must continue to provide families with the educational “school supplies” they need to help their children learn.

Happy Wednesday, Mobile Newsroomies!

Students stand outside Columbus Alternative High School on Aug. 28, 2018, in this Dispatch file photo. On that day, Columbus City Schools dismissed students from classes early because of the heat. The district is now in the process of relaunching its facilities master plan, which is expected to recommend replacing the nearly 100-year-old building, which isn't fully air-conditioned. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch file photo] © Kyle Robertson Students stand outside Columbus Alternative High School on Aug. 28, 2018, in this Dispatch file photo. On that day, Columbus City Schools dismissed students from classes early because of the heat. The district is now in the process of relaunching its facilities master plan, which is expected to recommend replacing the nearly 100-year-old building, which isn't fully air-conditioned. [Kyle Robertson/Dispatch file photo]

As an education reporter, August means the end of the summer and the beginning of back-to-school season. The chalk dust has barely settled but, boy, this month has already been busy.

What's the latest on contract talks between Columbus teachers union and school board?

  What's the latest on contract talks between Columbus teachers union and school board? CEA — the 4,000-member union that represents Columbus City Schools teachers and other employees — and the board have been meeting since 8 a.m. Thursday morning, said CEA spokesperson Regina Fuentes.  The meeting is currently the last scheduled session between the two sides and a federal mediator. Earlier this month, CEA filed its required formal notice to the State Employment Relations Board of its intention to strike and picket if a new contract is not reached.

Mobile Newsroom alum and K-12 education reporter Megan Henry has been following the contract negotiations between the Columbus Education Association and the Columbus City Schools Board of Education. Despite 21 bargaining sessions, the teachers union and district have yet to agree on a new contract.

A major hang-up for the teachers union, among other things, is to have functioning heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in schools.

The district has responded to the issue by saying it is updating the HVAC systems in 13 of its 109 school buildings this summer using $35.6 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds created due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

HVAC systems will be completed at seven of those buildings in time for the scheduled start of classes, but work at six other buildings won't be completed until September. Two other buildings — Columbus Alternative High School and Hubbard Elementary School — will have to wait until next year to get building-wide air conditioning.

Teachers at Pennsylvania charter school cut ties with state teachers union

  Teachers at Pennsylvania charter school cut ties with state teachers union Teachers at a Pennsylvania charter school have voted to cut ties with the state teachers union after the union failed to negotiate a new collective bargaining contract. The 12-11 vote by the teachers of Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School in Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, eliminated the Pennsylvania State Education Association as its primary labor negotiator after the union failed to negotiate a new contract with the school.

Of the 13 schools the district said will have HVAC by September, the majority of them are located in current or upcoming Mobile Newsroom neighborhoods. You can find the complete list at this link.

"We are just asking for patience," Alex Trevino, the district's director of capital improvements, said of students, staff and parents. "We certainly want to get those air conditioning units turned on as soon as we can."

So what does HVAC have to do with the Mobile Newsroom?

Columbus City Schools is the state’s largest district with some 47,000 students. Many of those students live in the communities we're committed to covering through the Mobile Newsroom.

Reporters have met some of them at the libraries while we're working. Eating snacks after school. Jumping rope in the courtyard. Proudly spelling out their names and sharing their favorite colors with us.

Regardless of how you feel about a potential teachers strike, I hope we can all agree that kids deserve to learn in comfortable spaces.

Columbus teachers union votes to strike; first day of school this week

  Columbus teachers union votes to strike; first day of school this week Columbus Education Association — the nearly 4,500-member union which represents teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors, psychologists and other education professionals — voted to strike for the fir…It has been a very busy couple of weeks in the world of education! Let’s all collectively take a deep breath.

Checking in: Reporter Micah Walker visited the Northland library branch this week, our first Mobile Newsroom location from almost a year ago! She'll be stopping by the branch more frequently. If you're in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and say hi.

Coming up: Our Mobile Newsroom kickoff event in Linden will take place on Aug. 22 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Columbus Metropolitan Library Linden branch at 2223 Cleveland Ave.

Come and meet reporters like Ceili Doyle, Taijuan Moorman, and Cameron Teague Robinson, as well as The Dispatch's new executive editor Edwina Blackwell Clark!

What's happening: Speaking of schools, local nonprofit A Step in the Right Direction is holding its third-annual Back-to-School Bash this Sunday at the Westgate Football Field at 3237 Wicklow Road. Bring the kids out for a community celebration and get them ready for the school year! Each child will receive a backpack full of school supplies; they must be present to receive it.

Randi Weingarten appears to endorse Minneapolis district policy to lay off White teachers first

  Randi Weingarten appears to endorse Minneapolis district policy to lay off White teachers first Randi Weingarten tweeted in support of a Minneapolis district policy to lay off White teachers first before teachers of color if the school should face cuts to staff.Weingarten tweeted an article from the Associated Press about the agreement reached between the union and the Minneapolis Public Schools district, and said, "This." She also included a quote from a local teacher union leader, who said, "The same people who want to take down teachers unions and blame seniority are now defending it for white people. This is all made up by the right wing now.

The event is sponsored by CareSource, FatherUp! and Townhall Short North. The Columbus Division of Fire will be there with a fire truck for kids to explore, as well as DJs and other entertainment. For more information, visit this link.

As always, thank you for reading! If you aren't already, please consider subscribing to the Dispatch. And if someone sent you this email, make sure you subscribe to this newsletter to never miss an issue.

Until next week,

Sheridan Hendrix

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @sheridan120

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: HVAC is a major hang-up for Columbus teachers union

Teacher contract race language ignites firestorm .
Advocates say students from racial minorities perform better when their educators include teachers and support staff of color Steve KarnowskiAssociated PressMINNEAPOLIS — When Minneapolis teachers settled a 14-day strike in March, they celebrated a groundbreaking provision in their new contract that was meant to shield teachers of color from seniority-based layoffs and help ensure that students from racial minorities have teachers who look like them.Months later, conservative media outlets have erupted with denunciations of the policy as racist and unconstitutional discrimination against white educators.

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