Education

Pasco schools closed Thursday as teachers strike continues

The electronic message board outside of Marie Curie STEM Elementary School in Pasco reminds parents and students the building is during the teacher's strike.
The electronic message board outside of Marie Curie STEM Elementary School in Pasco reminds parents and students the building is during the teacher's strike. Tri-City Herald

The Pasco School District’s teachers strike will continue for at least a seventh day Thursday as the district canceled classes for all 21 of its schools and Delta High.

No teacher contract was reached Wednesday to end the strike that began Sept. 1. Contract talks between the district and the Pasco Association of Educators began at 9 a.m., according to the district’s website.

The district’s most recent contract offer, made on Wednesday, was similar to recent offers, including a 10 percent salary raise over three years, but had numerous changes to a section on curriculum development and adoption.

The contract would accelerate assessment of what curriculum the district needs, have a one-year deadline for a recommendation for language arts and math curriculum for K-8 students that is bilingual, and a specified timeline for the curriculum review and adoption process for the next year. It still proposes the district take three years to fully address all curriculum needs claimed by teachers.

The district also pledged to form a task force with the union by Oct. 1 to review testing in the district. A recommendation would be made to the board before the end of 2015.

The teacher’s union has sought a more aggressive schedule to adopt and implement all needed curriculum in a one-year contract offer made on Monday and an end to all standardized testing that isn’t required by the state or federal government. It also sought a 6.4 percent salary increase over the length of the contract.

Strikes by public employees are illegal in Washington. Franklin County Superior Court Judge Alex Ekstrom granted a preliminary injunction to the district Sept. 4, ordering the teachers back to work.

Ekstrom said during a Tuesday hearing he could begin levying fines against the union and its leaders if the strike hasn’t ended before a Sept. 11 hearing.

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