OTTAWA — It has been a year and a half since teachers at Ottawa and Glandorf elementary schools and Ottawa-Glandorf High School have had a new contract.
Approximately 55 of those teachers stood outside O-G high school prior to Tuesday’s school board meeting holding signs that expressed the teachers’ concerns with working without a new contract.
Drivers honked their horns and waved at the teachers as the teachers held up signs with phrases such as “We Want A Fair Contract,” “Asking For A Fair Contract Please” and”Fighting For Schools Children Deserve.”
Beth Recker, an intervention support teacher at Glandorf elementary, held a sign and stood next to the road with other teachers.
“We want to work together and we would like to be offered a fair contract,” Recker said.
School Board President Brent Schroeder confirmed that there will be mediation meeting at 4 p.m. Sept. 17 at O-G high school between the school board and teacher’s association to negotiate a contract.
The teachers wore bright orange T-shirts with black lettering that read “O-G Teachers United.” A table was set up with over 500 pounds of canned goods the teachers collected from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6.
The canned food items were all donated by the teachers and will be donated to Ottawa Food Pantry.
The teachers of Ottawa Elementary, Glandorf Elementary and Ottawa-Glandorf High School in their effort to raise donations for the food drive agreed to keep track of their work hours that took place outside of their normal school day for one week from Aug. 30 to Sept. 6 with the idea of contributing one non-perishable food item per hour worked.
There were over 620 hours between the three contributing schools logged over those seven days. Also, in a gesture of kudos the teachers at Columbus Grove put forth $70 worth of non-perishables as well.
Sandi Racer, Ottawa Food Pantry board chair, showed up Tuesday night to collect the food.
“Our food pantry is always excited and encouraged to receive donations from outside groups. Every item that we receive is a donation that helps to give additional assistance to those in our community who are in need,” Racer said.
Following their time holding signs outside they packed into the school board’s meeting room, some sitting in chairs and others standing while Josh Klear, O-G High School informed the board about the canned goods the teachers collected that will be donated to Ottawa Food Pantry.
“The strength of our community, much like our school is about becoming more together,” Klear said. “We can and we must help each other do that very thing.”
He said the quality leadership in the community that steps up for those in need realizes it is not about rank or being in charge, rather it is about taking care of those in your charge.
“As leaders we know that we don’t get more by doing less. We choose to do more and to do it for each other,” Klear said.
Klear said families experiencing food insecurity are often struggling with other costs and stresses such as rent, utilities, medical care. He added they make difficult trade offs that compromise their health while perpetuating a vicious cycle of instability.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.