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Cleveland Teachers Strike Averted For Now With 10-Day Contract Extension

September 4, 1996

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Teachers continued to work today and schools remained open after a threatened strike was averted at the last minute, at least for now.

Two hours before the midnight strike deadline, the state’s largest school district and the 5,000 teachers agreed to a 10-day extension of their contract. Other unions representing 2,000 janitors, bus drivers, clerks and other support workers also agreed to wait.

``In the 10 days, we plan to use every opportunity to continue the negotiations, and we hope to reach a fair and equitable settlement,″ said Rick Ellis, a spokesman for the financially troubled district.

Richard DeColibus, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union, said tough issues still remained and more time was needed for negotiations.

``We are into the dollars and cents stuff and that’s really tough,″ DeColibus said. But he said he believed a settlement was possible.

The 72,000-student district, which is $152 million in debt, has been under court-ordered state control for 1 1/2 years.

The teachers, with salaries ranging from $26,000 to $55,000, had agreed to accept a pay freeze and offered $3 million in concessions. District negotiators said more concessions were needed.

The last Cleveland teachers strike, in 1988, lasted four days. A 1979-80 strike lasted 11 weeks.

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