Classes will begin Wednesday as planed in the Snoqualmie Valley School District, but teachers on Tuesday voted to go on strike if there is no contract agreement by Sunday, Sept 8. 299 teachers took part in the vote. 291 of them voted in favor of setting a deadline to go on strike.
Teachers say compensation and class size in elementary schools remain the two key issues.
The district has proposed a three-year contract that would give teachers a one percent raise the first year, a one percent raise the second year, and a two percent raise the third year.
Teachers say that's just not good enough. They also feel it's not comparable to neighboring districts.
"I want to be in the classroom, but I also need to make a living wage," said 8th grade Snoqualmie Valley teacher Susie Martin.
She hopes Tuesday's vote sends a message to the superintendent and the school board.
"What it means for us is to have a little respect," she said. "We feel our district has been bullying us for the past several bargaining sessions. They wait until the very end, right before school starts, and then ask us to vote."
District spokesperson Carolyn Malcolm says they are relieved teachers have agreed to work the first three days of school, as planned.
"When there is uncertainly in a school schedule, we realize its hard on everyone in the community," she said. "Families, staff, community members at large, and we're going to do everything it takes to find a solution that is agreeable and sustainable."
Negotiators from both sides will return to the bargaining table on Wednesday afternoon.
The teacher's union has set a three p.m. deadline on Sunday, and is promising to strike if they're not given a fair contract before then.