Tentative contract with 450 Youngstown teachers reached

Strike unlikely when school year begins

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown City School District has reached a tentative agreement with its teachers union, likely averting a repeat of last summer’s strike.

Superintendent Jeremy Batchelor said Monday that the district has concluded negotiations with the Youngstown Education Association after only two sessions and will await the union’s ratification of the proposed contract.

Union spokesman Jim Courim said he was notified Friday that the two sides had reached an agreement, and a meeting is set for Friday to present the terms to YEA’s 450 members and allow them to vote for ratification.

“I’ll be honest, I was a little surprised it went as quickly as it did,” he said. “I think they came to the table knowing specifically what they wanted, and I do believe that nobody wanted another strike.”

District spokesperson Stacy Quinones said no special board meeting is expected and ratification will likely be on the agenda for the board’s regular meeting Tuesday.


Bargaining did not proceed as smoothly last year.

The three-year contract between YEA and YCSD expired on June 30. Union leaders said they had tried for months to engage the district in negotiations, but talks only began in the week or two preceding the new school year.

Negotiations broke down just days before the school year was set to begin. When Aug. 23 arrived, roughly 450 members of the Youngstown Education Association teachers union were on the picket lines instead of in their classrooms.

The strike lasted exactly four weeks and seemed as if it would go on much longer, but a late-night session led to an agreement on Sept. 15.

The primary sticking point, the union said, was not wages or benefits, but language placed in the contract by the Academic Distress Commission that managed the district, under Ohio House Bill 70, from 2012 until July 2022.

The union argued that after HB 110 overrode HB 70, and Youngstown was effectively under its own authority, with minimal state oversight, the district wanted to keep the language to give Batchelor more authority over transfers between classes and buildings, and other decisions that affected teachers’ careers and how they taught their students.

In the end, the one-year deal saw all of the contested language removed, and teachers received a 3% wage increase.

Courim said that was everything the union wanted.

The district said it had found a middle ground to “delete and move past the academic distress rights enhancements in the labor contract but still maintain enough flexibility to…assign the most qualified teachers and not just the most senior teachers in key classes and programs.”

The contract also afforded more time for teachers to “provide direct interaction and educational opportunities…especially in the elementary and middle school levels.”

The statement also said the contract was financially responsible and did not impact the district’s ability to provide future services and programs.

Have an interesting story? Contact Dan Pompili at dpompili@vindy.com.


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