Teachers' union reps call Kelso district 'shameful' after talks - KPTV - FOX 12

Teachers' union reps call Kelso district 'shameful' after talks

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KELSO, WA (KPTV) -

After two bargaining sessions and a rally in front of the Kelso School District offices Monday, the Kelso School District and their teachers are no closer to a bargaining agreement.

After the late session on Monday night, Teacher’s Union Spokesperson Sandy DeBruler ripped into the district for standing by legal arguments instead of bargaining.

“The district continues to want to enrich its law firm at the expense of the Kelso community and students. We feel their behavior is shameful,” DeBruler said.

Kelso district reps said school is canceled until further notice.

A judge has ordered that teachers need to report to the classroom Tuesday, but teachers plan to stay on strike.

Monday a rally was held in front of the district office. Over 100 parents, students and teachers showed up.

“We all want to get back to the classroom. None of us want to be out here holding signs, but we will, if that’s what it takes,” teacher Andy Lemiere said.

The teachers could face sanctions for defying the court order, but the judge did not specify what the punishment would be.

“We know that there are potential consequences for that, but what we are taking a stand for, we feel is just,” Lemiere said.

The strike is weighing heavy on some parents like Melinda Pond who needs her daughter back in school, so she can look for a job.

“It was hard enough with summer coming back onto a schedule for them and then it’s like summer just started again,” Pond said.

The nearly 300 teachers have worked without a contract since June. Pay is one of the big sticking points. Teachers in Kelso have not received a raise in six years.

“It’s a lot, it’s an emotional thing that’s happening for everybody but I stand by my teachers 110% these are teachers that have given and given and given of themselves,” parent Shannon Wickham said.

Talks will resume on Tuesday at 11:00 AM.

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