Kelso teachers prepare for possible strike: 'None of us want to - KPTV - FOX 12

Kelso teachers prepare for possible strike: 'None of us want to do this. We're heartsick'

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KELSO, WA (KPTV) -

All schools in Kelso will be closed on Wednesday as teachers inch closer to going on strike.  

District leaders made the decision to cancel classes to give families enough time to plan for child care. 

Teachers and board members are at the bargaining table, trying to hash out a last-minute deal. If an agreement isn’t reached by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, however, Kelso teachers will go on strike for the first time in nearly 40 years. 

Reading teacher Sandy DeBruler never thought it would come to this.
 
“None of us want to do this. We’re heartsick," she said. 
 
DeBruler has worked at Barnes Elementary School for more than 30 years and this is the first time she’s started the school year without a contract. 

Without proper compensation for added work and after not getting a raise for six years,DeBruler says Kelso teachers have to take a stand.
 
“Everyone knows that pressures are coming down. More and more is expected of us with all the assessments and meetings," said DeBruler. “We feel that we deserve this.”
 
Kelso teachers say they want to get paid for the ten extra minutes added to the schedule this year, which adds up to four more school days. They also want two more compensation days and a salary that’s more comparable to teachers in neighboring Longview. 
 
Kelso Schools Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich sent FOX 12 the following written statement: “We truly care about our teachers. There have been salary increases over the years and our teachers are worth every penny, and more. The Board would like to do more and is attempting to do so with its offer in negotiations. At the same time, there are also other essential expenses that are required in sustaining our quality schools.”

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