OAPSE Keeps Fighting for Members

To: OAPSE Members

From: Executive Director Joe Rugola

Re: OAPSE’s Continued Fight for Members During the COVID-19 Emergency

OAPSE joins our sisters and brothers at AFSCME Ohio Council 8 in mourning the loss of George Culestu, a member of AFSCME Local 2493 at Trumbull County Maintenance Department, who died as a result of COVID-19. On behalf of the entire OAPSE/AFSCME family, we extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the family of Brother Culestu.

OAPSE remains on the job as Ohio enters our second month of school closures and curtailed services at school districts, departments of developmental disabilities, libraries, head start agencies and community colleges.

We remain in constant touch with the office of Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Education and other state agencies so that we can provide critical information to OAPSE members impacted by the health emergency.

We also have been in regular contact with key legislators at the state and national level. In fact, a call with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown today, I conveyed our appreciation for his unqualified support of OAPSE members and his hard work to move the $2 trillion emergency relief bill (CARES Act) through the U.S. Senate. Because of his leadership and insistence that working families get direct relief, OAPSE members will receive direct payments and schools, head start agencies, local governments, libraries, community colleges and our DDs will get critical emergency funding.

Below is a reminder of what the CARES Act includes:

    • $150 billion for states and local governments (which includes funding for DDs and libraries)
    • $13.5 billion for K-12 education
    • $14.25 billion for higher education
    • $750 million for head start agencies
    • $3.5 billion for child care and development block grant (CCDBG)
    • Requires health plans to cover COVID-19 related qualifying services and treatments with no plan participant co-payments


  • I urged Senator Brown to keep pressing for additional federal assistance for our members and the students and families we serve across Ohio. Congress is expected to take up another relief package during April, and OAPSE and our national union, AFSCME, will continue to work with both Senator Brown and Senator Rob Portman — who also supported the relief package — to provide assistance to our members.
    I am confident Senator Brown will continue to champion the needs of our members on Capitol Hill. OAPSE will continue to work with all Ohio legislators and communicate our priorities in the coming months.

    We are working daily with the Ohio Department of Education to clarify situations directly affecting our members.

    For OAPSE members who work as paraprofessionals in our classrooms: ODE is extending all educator licenses which were set to expire on July 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020.

    This will allow extra time for educators to complete all of their licensure renewal requirements, including background checks.

    For all OAPSE members who require a background check: OAPSE has verified that the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information (BCI) is still processing background checks at this time.  Anyone who has an urgent need to complete a background check should contact BCI at (855) 224-6446 for instructions on how to complete fingerprint collection at home.

    You can also get additional information regarding coronavirus-related licensure concerns by clicking here.

    We will continue to work with the governor’s office and appropriate state agencies to provide OAPSE members with important information impacting your jobs.

    As always, if you have questions or concerns, contact your local union president or your field representative.

    And continue to check your email, Facebook, Twitter and oapse.org for the latest information on COVID-19 and other important issues.

    Ohio Department of Education

    Also, we know many of you are at work cleaning our schools, preparing and delivering meals, and taking care of children and our communities. Please send us photos of this important work — with names and local unions — so we can post to our social media accounts and share with all Ohioans how important the work of OAPSE members is to our communities. And please be mindful of physical distancing as you take photos of the important work you are doing!