The Tumwater Education Association announced Wednesday evening the Tumwater School District filed an injunction and is taking the TEA and president Tim Voie to court Friday morning.
“It’s a bullying tactic and we’re always talking about how we don’t want to bully kids in school, and this is where we’re at,” said Voie.
Members said they’re not backing down.
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“We are going to enter this school year with classrooms that don’t have teachers for them. We need to stop that. We need to be competitive this year, not in the future,” said Henry Valz.
Valz is a high school chemistry teacher. He wants smaller classes, increased safety and higher salaries.
He said there is a big gap between salaries in Tumwater and surrounding schools.
“With their new tentative agreements, it’s $10,000 less than what was offered at Clover Park and Steilacoom,” he said.
In Centralia, school is canceled until further notice.
Food Service director Michael Young is making sure kids don’t go hungry by handing out sack lunches.
“I think it’s a really nice option for us to be able to feed some kids. It’s a needy area and there’s a lot of kids out there that need a meal, so I’m glad we’re able to offer this,” he said.
Parents said they’re thankful for the food. They said they support Centralia teachers, but want their kids to get to class.
“We have to take it one day at a time,” said Rakayla Vega.
“I was probably more bummed out than anybody. I’m ready for school to start,” said Miranda Gruginski.
In North Thurston, teachers don’t have contracts, but they’re in the classroom.
“We’re just hoping that we can come up with a contract soon and I think the bottom line is that everybody in our district is here for kids, and we were really grateful we could start on time today,” said Courtney Schrieve, North Thurston Public Schools communications executive director.
Jeff Scott’s granddaughter attends Meadows Elementary. He said he’d support teachers if they voted to strike.
“They want their money, I think we understand that, but they also want to be here for the kids, so that says a lot,” he said.
Tumwater, North Thurston and Centralia will continue bargaining Thursday.
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