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Evergreen strike has ‘frustration on both sides’

Education

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — “I think there’s a level of frustration on both sides.”

That’s Evergreen School District teacher Jody Evers, one of the 1800 teachers in Washington’s 6th-largest district that are still on strike. Friday will be the 8th day without school in the district.

Negotiations continue over the largest sticking point — pay. But tensions are growing between teachers and district leaders over the dollars.

As bargaining sessions continue behind closed doors with a mediator, some teachers are angry the district is now posting information from those sessions. Wednesday’s offer, for example, raised salaries anywhere between 8.5% to 12% this year, and 10.6% to 14% next year.

On the Evergreen School District website, it states there was an agreement not to post information from the bargaining process through September 3.

But there was a change and possible proposals could now be posted.

“Part of what we are doing is transparency. There is nothing illegal we are putting out there,” said EPS spokesperson Gail Spolar. “We had a discussion with the union about what we would post from Monday on.”

Teachers say there is more money available from the state that is promised for salaries and that’s why they remain on the picket lines and at the bargaining table.

“We want to be back in the classroom,” Evers, who teaches 7th-grade science, told KOIN 6 News. “There is that level of frustration. We want to come to an agreement for a fair, professional wage that we know the district has the money for.”

Evergreen Public School District spokesperson Gail Spolar, September 6, 2018 (KOIN)

The district did give the superintendent the authority to go to court to try and force the teachers back to work — something Longview decided to do.

“We are looking at all the options, what it might take to get school up and running, including legal ones,” Spolar said. Asked if there was a timeframe in mind, she said, “Not at this point.”

Teachers in 9 Washington school districts — including Battle Ground — remain on strike.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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