Northeast Ohio College Preparatory High School Staff Unionizes

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Last time we checked in on the "wave" of charter school unionization votes, the staff at Northeast Ohio College Preparatory High School was still debating its move, and administrative officials were keeping a close eye on staff meetings. Today, though, teachers and support staff at the Tremont charter school voted 21-3 to join a union.

The staffers will officially join the Cleveland Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, the Ohio Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of Teachers.

The vote follows the staff unionization at University of Cleveland Preparatory School in March. (Both schools are operated by I Can Schools.) 

"It's not common to try to organize a charter school, but I think the level of unfair labor practices has so irritated people that they have set the table for unionization," Sandy Theis, executive director of ProgressOhio, told Scene in March. 

Northeast Ohio College Preparatory School's internal atmosphere grew discordant after a round of teacher firings in 2014. The National Labor Relations Board stepped in to file a complaint against school leadership then — and did so again this year after high-ranking administrators were caught "surveilling" the nascent union meetings. 

“Our efforts the last two years were all about the students in our classrooms. Students need stability in the classroom and the halls of their school," Miles Paterson, a high school science teacher at NEO, said in a public statement. "We voted to form our union today to make sure we can retain the passionate, talented teachers and staff that make our school effective.”

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