November 23, 2014


Teachers union files unfair labor grievance against Elyria superintendent


Paul Rigda

Paul Rigda

ELYRIA — The Elyria Education Association is taking Elyria Schools Superintendent Paul Rigda to task for comments he made about the district’s five-year forecast and how step increases, the longevity pay system of teachers, fit into predictions.

The union filed an unfair labor practice grievance with the State Employee Relations Board and cited a May 30 article published in The Chronicle-Telegram in its complaint. The charge contends Rigda made negative and disparaging comments about the bargaining unit.

“The article presented the teachers in a negative light and generated numerous negative comments about the teachers in the newspaper,” said the complaint filed June 30. “(Rigda’s) actions reflect a total disregard for good faith bargaining and a blatant attempt to interfere with (the union’s) ability to advocate for its members during negotiations. The newspaper article is a form of direct dealing by threatening staff cuts through the media.’’

The article came a few weeks after consultant Ernie Strawser, with Public Finance Resources Inc., laid out the next five years of budgets for Elyria Schools.

In his report, he found expenses soon will outpace district income. As such, a move school officials made in 2011 to freeze steps temporarily could hurt the district if the union pushes for their reinstatement during contract talks, Rigda said.

In May, Rigda said the steps were not included in the five-year forecast. However, a 1.9 percent increase each year for teachers has been factored into the district’s financial future.

On Friday, he declined to comment on the grievance filed by the teacher’s union.

If the district does bring back steps, Rigda has said the district would have to cut expenses and the district would face a $2.7 million deficit by 2017. Such a shortfall could trigger a need for major staff reductions, including layoffs.

The State Employee Relations Board will investigate the claim and render its decision at a later date.

In the meantime, school officials and union leaders will continue to work toward a new deal. The contract expired May 31.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Sis Delish

    (insert the sound of crying babies to go along with this story)

    • Sue Lawson


  • Larry Crnobrnja

    It would have been nice if they provided a link to the May 30 article.

  • Joe Flabetz

    Sounds like another school levy is in the near future. More money to the teachers will solve all the performance problems, glad to see someone is working while the rest of us is on summer vacation. Right the rest of us do get three months of summer vacation, right.

  • elyrian64

    It is amazing how Paul Rigda is so quick to throw the employees under the bus when it comes to dealing with the public and saving all of us taxpayers money…..if only he would be so honest about all the wages, perks and other expenditures that the administration receives such as merit raises, bigger precentage of funds paid into their retirements and other perks. I have noticed lately that they no longer put what the new administrators get paid when hired or when their contracts are renewed in the board minutes but certainly put in there what the new teachers make or any supplementals that certified or classified staff make. Makes me think they are hiding some things from the public when it is convenient for them. Mr. Rigda is not as transparent as he would like for all of us to believe.

  • Sis Delish

    Abolishment of Tenure like being proposed in two of the Largest States cannot come too soon to Ohio.

  • LAB1660

    Neither side is dealing cleanly in this matter. The school district presents what it wants people to know,, and the teachers union behaves badly in return. Nobody knows how to act like an adult here because they’re too exposed to the immaturity of the children they teach all day. And, yes, this smells like the prelude to either a levy or worse yet, a school income tax. Money is not the answer with schools. It all starts at home with parents encouraging their children to study and do well, along with the cooperative effort between parents and teachers to help make that happen. Schools do reflect a community’s values, but it’s not monetary–it’s moral and educational in nature. The solution may well be for the community to wrest their schools from the elected and selected who don’t know how to do anything more than jingle a Styrofoam cup and then spend the $$ on something other than what they begged for in the first place.

    • elyrian64

      The majority of what you have said is so true.

  • Marc Lupico

    It is against collective bargaining if you tell the people that pay the teachers wages where the money is going? This is insane!!

  • Sis Delish

    Do Administrators enjoy the Summer’s Off with Pay, too?

    Or, are they at a distinct disadvantage negotiating during the Summer against a Union who’s members are sleeping, well-rested, traveling, partying and otherwise enjoying time away from their primary roles as educators? (and Printing up Signs for their next Media Appearance when things don’t go their way)

  • Guest

    How the hell do these republicans not work and post all day long? I bet they are the ones on Welfare driving the BMW to get their food stamps.