Just what the hell is happening in Strongsville?
On Tuesday morning, the second day of a teachers' strike in Cleveland's southern-suburb-with-a-big-mall-that's-not-Parma, an angry parent drove through a picket line at Kinser Elementary School in a 'graze'-and-run. No one was injured.
On Monday, frazzled residents called Strongsville High School a war zone. Students likened it to Auschwitz...the concentration camp. You'd think that these teenagers, herded into consolidated classes and forced to watch Netflix and play cards all day at the hands of desperate substitutes, were refugees.
If you haven't been following the news, here's a quick review: Saturday, the Strongsville Education Association failed to reach terms with their board of education and announced a strike. Teachers maintain that their contracts' new terms demand more work for less pay. The school board counters that it already offers teachers a competitive compensation package, and the new terms reflect the realities of a harsh economy.
"Frankly, it is hard to comprehend why a strike notice was issued when we are still in negotiations," the board wrote in an official statement.
The teachers' primary contention was over higher monthly fees for medical coverage and the potential loss of step and column raises (salary increases based on education level and years of service). They also didn't want to lose the 9.3 percent of their retirement share that the district currently picks up.
The school board proposed to add that retirement chunk to a teacher's base salary, bringing the starting pay of a teacher with a Bachelor's degree to $38, 013. The average teacher salary in the Strongsville district is $68,000. In 2011, according to the state Treasurer's office, more than 100 teachers made more than $75,000.
Anyway, now they're striking.
Monday morning, school was a tad closer to Total Clusterfuck than administrators might have preferred, but reports — though varied — indicate that things are cooling down. "The teachers are teaching" seems to be a benchmark for success at this point, to give you an idea.