Education

No progress reported on 4th day of Kennewick teacher talks to avoid strike

Kennewick Education Association bargaining rally

James Gow, Washington Education Association-Southeast representative, tells about the contract negotiations being held between the Kennewick Education Association and the Kennewick School District.
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James Gow, Washington Education Association-Southeast representative, tells about the contract negotiations being held between the Kennewick Education Association and the Kennewick School District.

Kennewick teachers and administrators returned to mediation talks Saturday as they continue trying to hammer out a deal ahead of Monday’s strike deadline.

Meanwhile, school administrators are already making plans with the YMCA to offer on-site childcare at certain elementary schools if classes do not start on Tuesday.

Saturday was the fourth day since a state mediator stepped in to help resolve the contract differences. As of 6 p.m. Saturday, no updates had been posted by either side.

Earlier this week, the Kennewick Education Association (KEA) said its 1,200 teachers and other certificated professionals agreed to strike if pay and other issues in the new three-year contract can’t be settled.

In a new message to Kennewick parents, Superintendent Dave Bond said they want to reach an agreement as quickly as possible.

If the district doesn’t reach a tentative agreement with the association by Monday, then schools will remain closed on Tuesday, he said.

School officials are expected to let athletic coaches know Sunday night whether sports practices are canceled Monday and if staff is locked out.

“We are working on contingency plans in the event of a delay,” Bond wrote in his message. “We understand that this may cause difficulties for many of our families. We will be working with our partners at the YMCA to offer on-site childcare at designated elementary schools as an option for families.”

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.
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