Snoqualmie Valley teachers could strike; District pushes new deal

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by ADAM MERTZ / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 7 at 11:19 AM

NORTH BEND, Wash. -- North Bend Elementary school teachers packed up their belongings and left their classrooms Friday afternoon, unsure if they would be back on Monday. The teachers are threatening to strike if they can’t reach a tentative agreement with the Snoqualmie Valley School District.

"The teachers have been told that they may not be coming back Monday so they need to remove their beloved pets, their thirsty plants and whatever personal items they might need over the week," Snoqualmie Valley Education Association president Lisa Radmer said.

The teachers are prepared to strike if they don’t have an acceptable contract offer by Sunday afternoon. The key issues are teacher pay and class size.

The school district’s latest offer includes two percent raises for teachers every year for the next three years.  A district official said it is a “strong offer” and they are optimistic.

"They are very close on the compensation. We still have some more conversation to do on class size,” Radmer said.

Contract negotiations resumed Friday afternoon.

Q&A for parents in the event of a strike (from Snoqualmie Valley School District)
 
If there's a strike, would schools close?
Yes. All schools would be closed during a strike in our district. This includes all grade levels (including Preschool and Kindergarten) and special programs (such as the Parent Partnership Program, Transition Learning Center, etc.).
 
How will families be informed that school is cancelled?
If the union declares a strike, the district will immediately work to notify its families through a variety of communication tools, so parents will have as much time as possible to prepare and make other arrangements for their children. The district will:
 

  • post the update on the District website: www.svsd410.org
  • send an email notification via District E-News
  • post a link to the website headline onto Twitter: @SnoqValleySD
  • record a message that people can access on the District hotline: 425-831-8494
  • initiate the district's emergency call-out system to send a message to all parent cell and home phone numbers in our database.
  • plus, media coverage


When would school re-start? How long do students have to attend school?
School would begin after the strike has ended. Regardless of when school starts, our students will receive 180 days of quality instruction. School closures caused by a strike are similar to weather-related closures; days must be made up.
 
When will lost school days be made up?
The district would revise and distribute a new school calendar as soon as possible after a strike ends.
 
How will a strike affect student activities and athletics?
Most school activities will be on hold until school starts, except for sports. Coaching contracts in Snoqualmie Valley are negotiated separately from the main teacher contract; therefore, sports practices and games will typically continue as scheduled. There may be some adjustments to the plans for home/away games. Athletes should confirm their sport's schedule with their coach.
 
How will a strike affect Snoqualmie Valley students in special education programs in other districts?
Families of Snoqualmie Valley students who attend special education programs at other school districts will be contacted individually.
 
How will a strike impact seniors (12th graders)?
• Graduation: In our state, seniors are required to have 175 days of instruction, compared to the 180 days required for all other grades. Depending on the duration of a strike, the date of the graduation ceremony may need to be changed. The school and district would notify families as soon as possible after a strike if a change was needed.
• College applications & transcripts: College applications would be unaffected by a strike since they are often due in January and require transcripts only through the end of the student's junior year. (Once accepted to a college, students must submit their senior-year transcripts.)
• Advance Placement Exams: The AP exams are given statewide during specific set dates during the weeks of May 5-16. A strike will not change those dates.
What will happen to those who have made plans to use the fields and school facilities for community events, activities, and sports?
At this time, we do not anticipate that community use of school facilities will be impacted as long as such activities have been arranged in advance. If custodial support is needed, however, use of facilities may be limited. If you have questions about your facility rental, please contact Carl Larson at 425-831-8005.
 
What kind of options are there in the community for childcare during the day?
The following organizations confirmed that they may have openings to care for more children during the school day. Contact: YMCA (Snoqualmie Ridge) 425-466-0339; Si View Parks Dept. (North Bend) 425-831-1900; or Mountain Valley School (North Bend) 425-888-3360, for more information.
 
How will a new student enroll in a Snoqualmie Valley school if schools are closed?
 The District Office (8001 Silva Ave. SE, Snoqualmie WA, 98065) will remain open during a strike and can register students to any of our district schools.

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