Sound Off for August 28th: Possible teacher strike looms in Spokane. Do you support it?
SPOKANE, Wash. – — Teachers unions across Washington are threatening to strike if they don’t come to a contract agreement by September 1st. The Spokane Education Association (S.E.A.) says agreements have to be set in stone in Spokane by Monday at midnight if Spokane Public schools want to avoid a strike; The first day of school for Spokane Public Schools is August 31st, but it is the second day of school that’s in question.
Both the Spokane Education Association and Spokane Public Schools say they are working closely with one another and are hopeful a strike will be avoided, but that does not mean one isn’t possible.
Just a few months ago, teachers went on strike; asking for more funding to public education. With the new school year approaching, they could be right back to square one.
“We would much rather be in our classrooms in our schools, than have to start fighting for the dignity and respect we deserve everyday,” said Debbie Chandler, Vice President of the Spokane Education Association.
Chandler says the decision to strike will be made by the teachers if contract agreements are not met. The biggest hold up right now is compensation for both teachers and support staff which includes resource officers, maintenance staff and instruction assistants.
“A lot of their compensation is so low and so poor a lot of our school employees get free and reduced lunch and they are on Obamacare because they can’t afford the insurance for them,” Chandler said.
Since July, 100 different offers have been sent back and forth between S.E.A. and Spokane Public Schools.
“Every effort is being made to make sure students are in the classroom on Tuesday morning,” said Kevin Morrison of Spokane Public Schools.
But Morrison says the District is also being realistic.
“The State has only given us so much to work with and what they have given us we have passed onto the classrooms as much as possible,” he said.
Where the two parties agree is the quality of education each child deserves.
“Every child in America deserves to have world class teachers and support staff that help them enrich their lives,” Chandler said.
S.E.A. will meet with Spokane Public Schools on Friday afternoon in an effort to come to an agreement once and for all. If they do not, they will make a decision on how to proceed.
What are your thoughts? Would you support a strike?
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