NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The Niles School Board and teachers union reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday evening, and there will be no strike.
Teachers could be heard saying, “See you in class tomorrow,” to the students that gathered to support them as they exited Ciminero’s Banquet Centre where they gathered to vote.
According to a press release from Niles City Schools Board President Tony Perrone, an emergency meeting will be held at 12 p.m. Thursday to consider approval of the tentative agreement.
Perrone and President of Niles Teachers Association Tracy Ledsome said in a joint statement, “Both sides have worked very hard to get to this point, and we want to sincerely thank everyone on both negotiating teams for their hard work, diligence and commitment.”
The negotiations began at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Niles School Board offices on N. Rhodes Avenue.
The teachers had threatened to strike Thursday if a contract was not in place by the end of Wednesday.
Teachers union spokesperson Traci Kempe has said the only issue on the table was salary. The base salary for Niles teachers, she says, is the second lowest in Trumbull County.
She also said the teachers were prepared to strike if needed but are glad to be back in the classroom on Thursday.
“I believe we got a very fair and equitable contract which is what we’ve been fighting for,” said Kempe.
There were about 75 people at Ciminero’s to show support for the teachers and Kempe said it was appreciated.
“There was a bunch of people out there at the board office at 9:30 for the 10:00 a.m. meeting, and they were there for quite a while and they’re here again to support us. This is a great community and they support their teachers and it this is a wonderful turnout,” said Kempe.
Teachers received rounds of applause as they arrived. Some held signs saying ‘learning is priceless’ and ‘support Niles teachers.’ It’s this support that Niles teachers union spokesperson Traci Kempe says kept the teachers going.
“It was everything. I’ve been a teacher for 32 years and I’ve never seen so much community support behind a movement like this. The kids, the parents, the community as a whole — they were very, very instrumental in making this all happen,” said Kempe.
Wednesday night’s statement read both sides worked hard to get to this point. And they are thankful for everyone’s hard work, diligence and commitment.
We will have more details of the tentative contract agreement after the 12 p.m. meeting on Thursday.
Kyle Alexander contributed to his report.