The Youngstown Education Association, the union representing Youngstown city school employees, along with the Ohio Education Association (OEA)/National Educational Association (NEA) has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the Youngstown City School District Board of Education.

21 News, which received the complaint filed Thursday from Ohio's State Employment Relations Board, claims that the Board engaged in unfair labor practices when it eliminated bargaining unit positions for its adult education programs at Choffin Career and Technical Center.

During a May Board of Education meeting, the Board passed a resolution to remove the program directors of the dental assisting program, surgical technology program, practical nursing program, all union positions.

The filing alleges that bargaining unit members are denied contractual benefits under the collective agreement.

The Board voted to non-renew the employment of two full-time positions in the practical nursing program, and alleges that board hired six part-time, non-union employees to perform the jobs.

During the June 13 meeting, the board non-renewed the one-time time instructor for the surgical technology program, and the board alleges the district replaced the full-time employee with a non-bargaining unit hire.

21 News spoke with YEA president Eric Teutsch who said the complaint was filed on behalf of the nonrenewed three full-time employees and that it shouldn't have cone down this filing to protect its members.

Stacy Quinones provided 21 News a statement on behalf of Youngstown Board of Education President, Tiffany Patterson that states, "The Youngstown Board of Education regrets that the leadership of the Youngstown Education Association continues to disparage the Board of Education and the district's administration. This does not help the school district on its path to continuous improvement or its path out of academic distress. The association asserts that it desires what is best for our community and has asked for transparency; however, the leadership of the association continues to attempt to work through the media to create a misleading narrative. The latest attempt is related to the Choffin Career and Technical Center Adult Education Program."

The response added, "The district wants to be clear that it does not believe these attacks are the sentiment of the entire association and that we absolutely value our teaching staff and remain committed to supporting them as they support our scholars' academic and social-emotional needs. The Board also wants to express that it endorses our adult education program and believes it is an asset to our community if efficiently operated."

The response stated that the district transferred $423,112.56 from the general fund to cover adult education deficits in 2023, and $31,771.01 in 2022.

The statement concluded with, "the Board and district administration remain committed to all of our educational programs. Still, the district is also committed to 'tightening the belt' as the community and stakeholders have asked us to do as good stewards of district funds. The district hopes the YEA leadership will bargain in good faith and work with us rather than through the media."

In a further statement to 21 News, YEA Spokesman and Chaney Middle School English Language Arts Teacher Jim Courim said, "We bargain at the table, not in the media. As I have stated many times before, we believe in transparency. We have been requesting bargaining dates since March of this year to negotiate a new agreement with the Board. The Board met with us once in May and has continuously canceled until now. We finally have July 26, 27, and 28 scheduled with a federal mediator, but it appears that negotiations are not a Board priority. The line of communication between the Association and the Board has clearly broken down...The bottom line is you can’t unilaterally remove programs from our bargaining unit."