CROSBY -- School is back in session -- for everyone.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, school was to resume for all Crosby-Ironton teachers and students, the first time in eight weeks since Crosby-Ironton's teachers went on strike Feb. 9.
Harley Ogata, general counsel for Education Minnesota, spoke Wednesday outside of the Crosby-Ironton School after meeting with the district administration.
While many details have yet to be worked out for the rest of the school year, Superintendent Linda Lawrie said seniors will graduate on May 12 and students in the other grades will continue for two additional days, part of the settlement reached between the union and school district. In addition, four days will be added to the next school year and four days added to the year after that.
While the school board voted Monday to eliminate 35 percent, or 30 teachers, for the upcoming school year because of decreased student enrollment resulting from the strike, many teachers may be called back if enrollment figures improve.
Crosby-Ironton School Board members Mike Domin (left), Carol Pundt and Bob Sandin celebrated Wednesday at the Ironton City Hall after meeting in a special session.
Board chair Scott Kile and union president Stan Nagorski both encouraged students and their parents to return to C-I to rebuild the schools and start the healing process in the community. Kile said the district has estimated that 200-250 of the district's 1,300 students have left since the teachers' strike began. Doug Mayfield, chief union negotiator, said the union has done its own calculations and believes about 100-130 students have left but believes many will return.
"I ask the community to set aside your anger and begin the healing that will start tomorrow in the classrooms," Kile said at Wednesday's joint news conference outside the high school.
"Let's move on, let's move forward," added Nagorski.
Elementary school counselor Michelle Brekken (left) hugged retired teacher Virginia Larson Wednesday outside strike headquarters in Ironton after a tentative agreement had been reached in the Crosby-Ironton teacher's strike.
"I think it's important to remember why we're here," said board member Mary Nelson. "We love our kids. We need to put aside our differences. We need to recognize it's been hard on everybody but we can come together and support our kids."
"I'm very happy to get our teachers back and I hope we can have some community healing," said Therese Norwood, a C-I board member.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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