“Failure is not an option. The well-being of Cleveland’s children is foremost in our minds and we remain committed to working with all parties to find common ground,
Legislation to be finalized in the coming weeks
COLUMBUS – Earlier this week, State Representatives Sandra Williams (D- Cleveland) and Ron Amstutz (R- Wooster) released the following memorandum sent to all House members asking for support of Cleveland Mayor Jackson’s Education Plan.
“We need you to join us in efforts to lift up Cleveland students and those charged with guiding their education.
“We are writing to ask you to step forward as co-sponsor of a bill we are introducing for legislation.
“We are pleased to report that, after the announcement of our intent to introduce a bill as requested by Mayor Frank Jackson, the only mayor in Ohio heading a municipal school district, that productive discussions took place Monday with leaders of the Cleveland Teachers Union. We understand that commonality was achieved on a range of differences that the mayor’s team has sought to incorporate into a revised draft. We know that serious differences remain on a couple of issues. These will be the subject of further discussions this Tuesday between Mayor Jackson and the Cleveland Teachers Union. We are pleased that this progress has occurred, and that both parties appear to have conducted themselves in good faith.
“With this in mind we intend to file the product of Tuesday’s meetings on Wednesday for introduction into the Ohio House. We are committed to maintaining a strong, bi-partisan partnership in carrying this bill through its legislative journey. We expect that additional progress will occur during legislative activity on this bill.
“We understand that the same bill is being introduced into the Ohio Senate with similar bi-partisanship, joint sponsorship and anticipated process.”
At the same time, State Senator Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering), Williams and Amstutz issued the following joint statement regarding legislation for the Cleveland Schools plan.
“Last week we announced our intention to introduce legislation in support of Mayor Jackson’s plan to turn around Cleveland’s schools. At the time, we made clear that the plan as submitted to us was not perfect, and asked all parties to buckle down and work out solutions. To this end, we convened a series of meetings last Friday between the Cleveland Teachers Union, Mayor Jackson, and the Cleveland school district that were attended by a number of our legislative colleagues. These gatherings were followed by a very constructive session on Monday during which many differences were resolved.
“We are deeply encouraged by the progress made by the mayor in resolving concerns raised by the union and the inclusion of those solutions in the second draft of his legislation. Taking this significant progress into consideration, we have decided to delay introduction of the bill until Wednesday to provide the opportunity for discussion on those issues that remain. The outcome of these negotiations will have a significant impact on the lives of tens of thousands of children in Cleveland, and it is our hope that all parties come to the table prepared to work in the best interest of the city’s students.
“Beyond building a better educational system, the mayor’s plan has presented us with a unique opportunity to model for our young people how those with divergent views can work together to build up our communities. We call on those involved to maintain their composure, respect the process of negotiation, and work in good faith to produce a result that will better educate our children.
“It is imperative that all sides commit to crafting solutions through collaboration, while avoiding the road blocks and rhetoric that could so easily derail constructive dialogue. We have the opportunity to both reach an agreement that puts learning first and can achieve outcomes for students, and create fundamentally new relationships among professionals committed to the task.
“In the coming days, we expect the mayor, the union, and the district to reach an agreement and to resolve outstanding issues. If an understanding cannot be reached, we will introduce the legislation we have and negotiate the remaining issues through the legislative process. The language we have is a starting point — all bills are subject to change — but we have to start somewhere. There is no time to waste.
“Failure is not an option. The well-being of Cleveland’s children is foremost in our minds and we remain committed to working with all parties to find common ground, whether it is at the negotiating table or in a Statehouse hearing room.”