Ridgefield teacher strike has parents seeking alternatives for childcare

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 9:03 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RIDGEFIELD, Wash (KPTV) - A teacher strike in the Ridgefield School District meant no school for students on Friday as teachers began picketing outside schools.

At about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Chris Bowser and his wife found out there wouldn’t be school the next morning for their two sons.

“I think we kind of literally just looked at each other like, ‘Oh great. Here we go,’” Bowser said. “Because who knows how long it will last?”

Fortunately, Bowser’s wife works from home on Fridays and could stay home. But he’s starting to put together plans in case the strike stretches into next week.

“At the same time, we have to figure out what to do with them,” he said. “Get childcare for the day. Who knows for how long? It’s a bit of bummer. That’s not what we look for from our teachers.”

Sunset Ridge Intermediate School teacher Joe Thayer had his son taking part in the picket. He said what the teachers were fighting for was worth it.

The teachers are primarily asking for better special education and intervention programs. They are also asking for a cost-of-living salary increase.

“We do know that it is unfortunate that we have to be out here,” Thayer said. We would all rather be in our nice building working with our beautiful babies and helping them learn.”

Bowser said he understands the teachers trying to improve the environment for students like his sons, but he also wants them to know how it affects him with the school year already underway.

“We’ll hopefully be able to lean on some family,” Bowser said. “I know my father-in-law is retired. If he’s around, we’ll see if he can watch the (kids.)”

The Ridgefield Education Association and school district were continuing negotiations on Friday and are planning to meet over the weekend if needed.

A district spokesperson says the district wants every staff member paid fairly. It also is seeking a fair, financially sustainable agreement.