Teaching Profession

Ohio District Shuffles Subs As Walkout Continues

By Joetta L. Sack — September 25, 2002 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Scrambling to keep its schools open during a strike, an Ohio district has found a way to get around a state law that limits short-term substitutes to teaching a class for up to five days.

On the sixth day of the districtwide teachers’ strike in Maple Heights, the district moved all the substitutes to different classes, then moved them back to their original classes the next day.

About 235 teachers in the Cleveland suburb have been on strike since Sept. 5. The 4,000-student district has been using short-term substitutes to fill the vacancies, said Marilyn Braatz, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Education.

The strike had not been resolved as of late last week.

While the state is not pleased with the district’s tactics for staying within the law, it is trying to be sympathetic, and won’t take action for now, Ms. Braatz said.

“This does not meet the spirit of the law, but it could be interpreted as correct,” she said. “Quite frankly, it would be better if they didn’t shuffle out, but ... given the circumstances, it’s understandable.”

The state knows of no other district that has used such reassignments of substitutes to comply with the law, she added.

Henry M. Rish, the district’s superintendent, said that central- office staff members had to process substitute applications in the wee hours of the morning after the teachers walked out of negotiations.

All the substitutes have passed state background checks and drug tests, and are certified to substitute teach, he said.

Mr. Rish said in written statements during the strike that he wanted to keep schools operating and run “business as usual,” even as teachers picketed nearby.

Teacher Tensions

Ohio issues two substitute-teaching licenses. A short-term license to teach one class up to five days is goes to those who have a bachelor’s degree but no coursework for certification. Longer-term licenses to to those who have met some coursework requirements. Most of the district’s substitutes are short-term.

Because the permanent teachers are not paid during the strike, and substitute teachers cost less, the district expects to save thousands of dollars during the strike, according to Mr. Rish.

After months of threats, the Maple Heights Teachers Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association went on strike. The teachers walked out to protest their pay, which is below state and regional averages; to seek limits on the number of classes they teach; to curtail noncurricular duties; and to to win increased contributions to their retirement plans.

The district said that it would be bankrupted by the demands. Local voters have shot down two attempts to raise property taxes to put more money into education.

News reports said Maple Heights schools were in disarray during the first days of the strike, as students watched TV, roamed halls, and left the campuses. One parent is trying to recall the school board. Meanwhile, teachers picketed outside the schools and the board members’ homes.

Tom Mooney, the president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, which is not directly involved in the strike, said the state should enforce its substitute-teacher standards. He also faults the district’s move to rotate substitute teachers.

“For the district to pretend school is open is not only educationally dishonest, it’s dangerous,” he said.


School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers’ Careers Go Through Phases. They Need Support in Each
Teachers experience a dip in job satisfaction a few years into their careers.
5 min read
Vector illustration of a female teacher at her desk with her head in her hands. There are papers, stacked notebooks, and a pen on the desk and a very light photo of a blurred school hallway with bustling students walking by in the background.
Teaching Profession Download Downloadable: 5 Ways Principals Can Help With Teacher Burnout
This downloadable gives school leaders and teachers various ways to spot and treat teacher burnout.
1 min read
Silhouette of a woman with an icon of battery with low charge and icons such as a scribble line, dollar sign and lightning bolt floating around the blue background.
Teaching Profession Massages, Mammograms, and Dental Care: How One School Saves Teachers' Time
This Atlanta school offers unique onsite benefits to teachers to help them reduce stress.
3 min read
Employees learn more about health and wellness options during a mini benefits fair put on by The Lovett School in Atlanta on May 8, 2024.
Employees at the Lovett School in Atlanta meet with health benefits representatives during a mini benefits fair on May 8, 2024.
Erin Sintos for Education Week
Teaching Profession Opinion How Two Teachers Helped Me Weave a Dream
A journalist and debut book author dedicates her novel to two of her high school English teachers.
Anne Shaw Heinrich
3 min read
Image of nurturing the craft of writing.
Francis Sheehan for Education Week with N. Kurbatova / iStock / Getty