Officials of the Willapa Valley Education Association (WVEA) a Washington Education Association affiliate, called a strike. Dan Hammond has the story on thedailyworld.com.
Willapa Valley Education Association spokesman Dale Folkerts commented . . . “The move follows months of negotiations during which school district leaders have failed to adequately address teachers’ concerns over student safety, support for students, and competitive pay.”
The district’s teachers received a 23.7 percent raise (on average) at the beginning of the school year when every district in the state received extra money as a result of a lawsuit over state school funding. The current negotiations are tied to a new contract for the 2019-2020 school year.
On Tuesday, Willapa Valley Superintendent Nancy Morris also released a statement. “In June, the Willapa Valley School District began negotiations with the Willapa Valley Education Association and held a total of four sessions from June to September. The process then moved into mediation, and after the fourth day of mediation meetings, the WVEA authorized a strike. Dec. 3 is the first day of the strike and both bargaining teams continue with mediation today. School was canceled today for students in the Willapa Valley School District.”
Folkerts said the strike will not prevent after-school sports, and that teachers “will pull down their picket line so that students can continue to get food service at school during the lunch hour.”
Folkerts’ statement listed the following issues as the main factors in the decision to strike:
“Safe classrooms for students and teachers: A comprehensive student behavior program will improve classroom safety and foster a climate of success for our Willapa students.
“Special Education Support: Our students with the highest needs deserve better support from our public schools. The district has been unwilling to provide the necessary support for our special education students.
Morris said, “Parents will be notified as soon as there is an agreement and school is set to resume. . . ”