The Puyallup School District is postponing classes Friday for the third day after teachers agreed to a work stoppage. Check here for breaking updates.
"In 72 years as an organization representing educators, we have never done this," said Karen McNamara, Puyallup Education Association President. "When I have married couples that can make between $10-to-$20,000 more each by driving five to ten miles down the road with a different district, why would they stay here when it is life-changing money for them?"
Puyallup is among the many districts that have been negotiating teacher raises. In some places, there have been double-digit percentage increases. But in Puyallup, it has been a battle over the budget. That led to the announcement to cancel classes for more than 22,000 students on Wednesday.
"We are still in negotiations and the district has decided to cancel school," said McNamara.
"To get the information late this afternoon that they are not going back is just really upsetting," said parent Tereasa Palmer.
Palmer blames the school district, and she showed up at the school board meeting to support the teachers. The meeting started at 6 p.m., and a parent was the first to comment before the school board.
"My email has been flooded with almost daily publicity from Puyallup School District regarding the ongoing negotiations. I am frankly appalled by the one-sided propaganda disseminated by the school district," said the parent.
The district has sent out bargaining updates. Tuesday's update stated that the district proposed an average annual teacher salary of $79,866.
The union says the district's numbers don't add up and its information is misleading.
Dr. Tim Yeomans, Superintendent of Puyallup School District, said he wants to compensate teachers fairly.
"We want to do the very best we can. Guess what, somebody has to do the math," said Yeomans. "We want to get this right. We want to make sure this is sustainable. And what I don't want to do is look our 200 youngest teachers in the face and say I gave away your job because I couldn't do the math."
With no deal reached yet, McNamara said, "It means we will be on the picket lines at 8 a.m."