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Mathews superintendent: 'We're done' negotiating



Published: Sat, March 29, 2014 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Jordan Cohen

news@vindy.com

VIENNA

The union representing nonteaching employees of Mathews Local Schools will meet Monday evening for what their field representative describes as a “ratification or strike vote.”

It will be the union’s second vote on the same contract in less than a week. On Wednesday, the first vote ended in a 12-12 deadlock.

“We’re either going to approve it or give a 10-day strike notice,” said Ron Blatt, field representative of Local 611 of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees. The local represents 30 custodial workers, cafeteria employees and bus drivers.

Blatt said six local members did not attend the earlier ratification vote on a tentative settlement reached last week. Earlier this month, the union had issued a strike notice for March 14, but withdrew it after Blatt reported progress following a meeting with a federal mediator.

The decision to have another vote follows a statement from school Superintendent Lewis Lowery that he has no intention of returning to the bargaining table.

“We’re done,” Lowery said. “I don’t see any reason to hold any more meetings.

“We went before the federal mediator in good faith, and when we left our last meeting, we had a tentative agreement,” the superintendent said. “There’s nothing left to discuss.”

Both sides have declined to divulge specifics about the proposed agreement. The union has continued to work under its previous contract that expired last summer.

The stalemate comes at difficult time for the small school district with a student population of 823. The board of education is trying to generate public support for a $24.7 million bond issue that will appear on the May 6 primary ballot. A 9.35-mill levy would finance construction of a new kindergarten through 12th-grade building and cover demolition costs of the current combined high school and junior high, nearly 100 years old, and the two elementary schools, which were built in the 1960s.

A similar issue but for a slightly lower amount, $22 million, was rejected by 59 percent of the voters in 2009.


Comments

1glbtactivist(261 comments)posted 9 months ago

This superintendent has to go. The board must fire him. He is running the system on his ego, not what is best for the community as a whole.

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2redeye1(4709 comments)posted 9 months ago

Congrats to Mr.. Lowery . Thank you for thinking of the taxpayers instead the union.
glbtactivist He is doing something for the community by keeping costs DOWN, Why should a minority group hold the whole community hostage for their own greed Thanks again Mr. Lowery

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3jeeptech(8 comments)posted 9 months ago

Time to start doing what should have been done a long time ago, and that is making repairs and stop pointing at the problems and start doing something about them. They say that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, well I say its time to get going, and stop complaining and start doing what the community wants. We voted against this in 2009, and everyone whom I have talked to is voting against it this time as well. I was in the hospital and a portion of it was built in 1900, but yet because it was maintained, it is perfectly functional and without any issues. Why should our school be any different?

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