District and Union Say They'll Return to the Drawing Board for Contract

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by Michelle Faust

Cleveland schools and its teachers union are in the midst of negotiating a new contract.  But last week, both the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the Cleveland Teachers Union rejected a report by a neutral fact-finder. 

The fact finder’s report was meant to provide new language that will help craft the teachers’ contracts.

Both the union and the district say the rejected report is a useful tool that gets them closer to a deal. 

"Given the complexities of this issue, quite frankly, I would have been shocked if one side or the other would have accepted it just because they were so complex," says Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke. He says the union proposed solutions for numerous problems—including performance evaluations, pay scales, and student testing.

Both sides are closer than ever to a deal.

CMSD CEO Eric Gordon says the process has been contentious, "I don’t know what it is about our bargaining in Cleveland, but it seems that if you haven’t let blood in the street, you can’t get to a deal. So, if this is our letting blood in the street, fine, let’s get to a deal."

Both sides are working with a federal mediator to schedule the next round of negotiations—likely in the next couple of weeks.  The teachers’ contract expires at the end of June.

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