San Juan Island teachers to go on strike Friday

San Juan Island teachers want competitive pay and more control over classroom spending.

San Juan Island teachers will go on strike Friday, one day after the district resumed classes following summer break.

About 97 percent of the San Juan Education Association’s 55 teachers and educators voted on Thursday to strike when they were unable to negotiate a new teacher’s contract with the San Juan Island School District.

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"Superintendent [Dana] Diaz and the school board refuse to invest in the quality teachers our students deserve," Amy Hull, president of the San Juan Education Association, said in a statement. "Professional, competitive pay is necessary to attract and keep caring, qualified, committed teachers for students in the San Juan Island School District."

Teachers were frustrated that the district didn’t meet their requests for substantial salary increases and more control over professional development and purchasing curriculum materials, according to a release from the teacher’s union.

The teacher’s union and the school district have been in negotiations since July, and were at an impasse when contracts expired on Thursday.

School will remain closed for the duration of the strike, according to the district.

“This is a very difficult situation for our entire community,” Diaz said in a statement. “The District is committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible. Strikes do end, and at that time we will work together again on our shared mission of educating students.”

This is the only educator’s strike in the state at this time.

The last time teachers went on strike in Washington state was in 2015.