Kelso teachers are on the picket line, while district goes to co - KPTV - FOX 12

Kelso teachers are on the picket line, while district goes to court to get them in class

Posted: Updated: Sep 16, 2015 07:52 PM
KELSO, WA (KPTV) -

After working without a contract since June, Kelso teachers went on strike at midnight Wednesday.

Bargainers from the teachers union and the district worked all Tuesday night and all day Wednesday trying to meet in the middle for a contract.

Late Wednesday afternoon the district filed a legal motion to try to get a judge to stop the strike and force the teachers to get back to work.

In the middle of all this, Kelso teachers hit the picket lines Wednesday morning for the first time in nearly 40 years. They walked away from the bargaining table Wednesday night with no deal in place. 

Rick Davis started protesting even before sunrise, the first Kelso High School teacher picketing for a new contract.

"I’m just supporting KEA, our bargaining unit and our teachers," Davis said. "Both sides have good arguments and good things.  It's just time that teachers are making a stand and I’m going to support that."

It didn't take long for a wave of supporters to join him. New and veteran teachers walked side by side, fighting for the same goal - better salaries.

Pat Hymes and several other teachers were up past midnight, trying to hammer out a deal, but without enough movement on compensation, Hymes said they had to make a tough call. 

“It’s compensation where our biggest difference is" she explained. "Striking is not anything we want to do, and cancel school, and have the adverse effect on our families and the community.  It's not something we wanted to do, but it's something we felt we needed to do."

While some students were taking a vacation day, others were hitting the picket lines too. Saying this is a fight for teachers, students and education.

"They’re really surprised we've been out here since seven.  They're really thankful," student Genna Bull said. "I care for them and I support them for the raise that they need."

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