DPS Teachers Pack Up Classrooms In Preparation For Possible Strike
Flanked by U-Haul moving trucks, more than 100 teachers rallied outside a Dayton Public Schools board meeting Wednesday night amid ongoing contract negotiations. The trucks were carrying classroom materials packed by the teachers in preparation for a possible strike.
“As you can imagine, the decision to move our personal belongings out of classrooms where many teachers have been teaching for years and years does not come easily and was not taken lightly,” said David Romick, president of the Dayton Education Association.
The union has been in negotiations with the district since January. A federal mediator was brought in to help reach an agreement earlier this month, but Romick said little progress has been made.
Sticking points in the negotiations include wages, library staffing, and support services. Teachers say they haven’t received substantial salary increases in more than a decade. They also say many media centers in some schools are un-staffed, leaving students without access to libraries.
In an earlier statement, district officials said they were hopeful an agreement will be reached.
Vicki Sargent has been a kindergarten teacher at World of Wonder School for 14 years. She says she’s prepared to strike, but she’s disappointed that it’s come to this.
“I’ve never experienced a strike before, and it’s very scary to me because I need my paycheck to pay my bills. And I know my children need me. And it just breaks my heart, because the last thing I want to do is move out of my classroom,” she said.
Mediation sessions are expected to continue in the coming weeks. Existing teacher contracts are set to expire on June 30.