Evergreen Public Schools cancels first day of classes due to teachers strike
VANCOUVER Wash. (KPTV) - The Evergreen Public Schools on Tuesday afternoon announced that its first day of classes on Aug. 30 were canceled due to the inability to reach a deal with teachers.
The school district’s move was a preemptive decision in anticipation that a deal would not be reached. Shortly after the district’s decision, the teacher’s union declared that negotiations have ended and the strike is official.
Evergreen and Battleground educator unions had warned they would strike if their demands were not met by their respective school districts.
Teachers we spoke with on Tuesday morning said they are not only asking for more preparation time and resources for overrun Special Education classrooms, but equal distribution of P.E., library and music resources across schools, along with smaller class sizes. They are also asking for the district to stick to the raises they had originally offered in the renewed contracts, which teachers said was cut down to a smaller number.
The Evergreen Public Schools is home to nearly 23,000 students.
The district put out the following statement about the first day of classes being canceled:
“Schools will be closed until further notice. A strike is a major disruption to the lives of our students, staff, families and school community. The district is committed to continuing to bargain with the Evergreen Education Association (EEA) to reach an agreement that is fair to all and is affordable and sustainable.”
“Evergreen Public Schools and the EEA union have been negotiating since March on a new collective bargaining agreement. Despite making progress, we unfortunately have not come to an agreement on the terms of a new contract and have been informed by the teachers union that they will be going on strike starting tomorrow. Today’s back-to-school events will continue as scheduled.”
The district added that its meals program would not be affected by the strike. Free breakfast and lunch will be available for curbside pickup each scheduled school day.
Middle and high school sports will also proceed as scheduled. Coaches work under a separate contract, including those who are teachers.
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