DILLONVALE - The first day of classes for students in the Buckeye Local School District for the 2014-15 school year may well be one they will remember forever, as it appears all but certain the year will kick off with 85 district employees walking picket duty at all four school building locations, as well as at the central office in Dillonvale.
Among the union's members are Buckeye Local School District's bus drivers, cooks, aides, mechanics, custodians, maintenance workers and secretaries.
"We'll be on strike at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 25."
This was the immediate response of Lynda Bolin, union representative with the Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 373, after learning Buckeye Local School District Board of Education members voted to establish a contract for services with a Michigan firm specializing in managing the day-to-day details of strike situations.
Board member Joe Zelek Sr. was the only Buckeye Local School District Board of Education member who voted no on the resolution to authorize the district to enter into a contract with the Michigan based company, Huffmaster Crisis Response LLC.
Local union president Cindy Norman noted pickets will also likely be seen at all district athletic events, in addition to being present outside each of the school buildings.
Several weeks ago, the union had filed a notice with the district, saying it planned to initiate a strike if a resolution was not reached by the Aug. 25th deadline.
Teachers return to work that day.
Students return on Aug. 27th.
It appears that if the picket lines go up at the schools, staff and students will have to effectively ignore picketing efforts and report for classes as they would normally.
The contract at issue is to cover three years, but it should have been in place a year ago.
Exactly how this looming dispute will impact the normal flow of daily business in the district is as yet unknown.
However, in comments made after the legislation was passed and the board decided to hire the Michigan firm, should their services be needed to keep its operations functioning, Superintendent Mark Miller made it clear any individual not reporting to work or classes will face consequences.
"Unauthorized leave shall constitute a breach of contract, and therefore may result in the initiation of dismissal procedures, loss of salary and fringe benefits or such disciplinary procedures, loss of salary and fringe benefits of such disciplinary action as may be deemed appropriate," stated the legislation.
Loccisano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org