STRONGSVILLE -- The Strongsville City Schools Board of Education says it has decided not to accept an invitation made by the city's mayor to meet in his offices with the Strongsville Education Association.
The meeting had been set for Friday, March 22.
In a release the city said, "We appreciate the Mayor's offer to meet, but such a meeting is not in keeping with the parties' existing negotiation agreement whereby we meet only when a federal mediator calls a meeting. This usually occurs when one or the other party expresses a change in position. Our negotiation team delivered a last best offer on March 2, 2013. We have listened to the voters and, just as the mayor must do, we must operate within the budget that we have been given. We have met under the jurisdiction of the federal mediator without progress."
Mayor Thomas Perciak said in his own written release "It is truly disappointing to me and the community that leaders of both sides with settlement authority will not make themselves available for meaningful discussions in a neutral setting at City Hall."
The teachers union issued the following release and statement Thursday:
School board members attended a negotiations session on Sunday, March 17. Despite repeated requests by the Federal Mediator and the SEA team to negotiate in the same room, the board refused to meet with the SEA and remained in a separate room for the entire four hour meeting. The Board also refused to allow their designated Negotiating team to meet with the SEA Representatives. In the end, the board team failed to produce a counter offer to the SEA's last proposal from March 2 and made no good faith effort to enter into discussions that would end the strike.
"We are appreciative of the Mayor's efforts to help us meet with the members of the school board," said SEA President Tracy Linscott. "Unless the SEA and the school board speak, it is impossible to negotiate. SEA is eager to negotiate, and are hopeful that the Mayor's offer will be a catalyst that finally leads to the first negotiation since March 2."
Strongsville teachers have been on strike since March 4.