CHENEY, Wash. - UPDATE: The Cheney Education Association announced a tentative deal with the district late Monday night. The following message was posted on the group's Facebook page:
"Cheney Public Schools and the Cheney Education Association reached a tentative agreement at 11:21 p.m. this evening on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement."
The Cheney Education Association warned Monday that teachers could go on strike if contract negotiations with the district continue to stall.
"We really do put the students first, and so striking is not in anyone's best interest, but I will say I feel like we're being pushed to strike..." said CEA representative Shasta Ruddock.
The union and the district have been bargaining for months, and contract negotiations have now stalled into the school year. A mediator was brought in Monday to help both sides reach a deal.
Dozens of teachers held a rally outside the district office Monday, at one point chanting "where's the money?" Some teachers told KXLY if the district can't afford to pay them what's fair, they will look for jobs in other districts.
"I love my students, but I feel that as a teacher, this contract being dragged out so long, it disrespectful, and it doesn't value me as a teacher," said Michael Horrocks, a music teacher at Sunrise Elementary. Horrocks lives on Spokane's south hill and said he could shorten his commute and find better pay in another district. "I will gladly do that to take care of my family - I don't want to do it, but if that's what it comes to, I'm not staying somewhere where I'm not valued," Horrocks said.
Cheney Public Schools superintendent Rob Roettger told KXLY the district is determined to reach an agreement - offering teachers competitive and professional pay that is also sustainable for the district.
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