Teachers in the Reynolds School District hit the picket lines after they were unable to reach a last-minute contract deal Monday.
The Reynolds Education Association and the Reynolds School Board were still trying to come to terms on a new contract at a last-minute bargaining session Sunday evening.
Dozens of teachers and their supporters gathered for a rally outside the building on the district's Edgefield Campus where the meeting was taking place.
"I would much rather be preparing lessons and grading papers than standing out here doing this," said teacher Sylvia McGauley. "I want to get back to my kids. I want to get back to teaching."
Teachers were hopeful that both sides would reach a settlement and the strike would be called off.
"I hope they can come to an agreement and we can get back in school," said Rose Wood who is also a teacher.
Members of the teachers union voted to authorize a strike two weeks ago.
On Friday, teachers cleaned out their classrooms and the Reynolds School District decided to cancel class Monday, in light of the looming strike deadline.
Students who joined teachers outside Sunday's bargaining session said the very real possibility of a teacher's strike is making them nervous.
"I know a ton of people who want to come back to school to see their friends," said Madison Ellsworth.
Bargaining teams for both sides headed into the last-minute negotiation session at 1 p.m. Sunday.
School Board Chair Teresa Delaney Davis gave a brief statement to the media before the meeting began, but didn't answer reporters' questions.
"We're excited to be here today to see what the REA has to offer," she said.
However, the teacher's union has been more outspoken. The union has accused School Board members of dragging their feet and not being serious about negotiating.
The union said a number of issues were still on the bargaining table Sunday.
"I really want them to take off their re-opener. Meaning if the district thinks there is a financial problem then they can reopen our contract and force us to negotiate. They also want to change the layoff language," said Joyce Rosenau, President of the Reynolds Education Association. "I want to see both of those things off the table."
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