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Evergreen, Washougal teachers on picket lines on first day of school

Evergreen Public Schools teachers on strike begin to gather outside Evergreen High School on Tuesday morning. The district canceled what would have been the first day of school on Monday. (Amanda Cowan / Columbian)
Evergreen Public Schools teachers on strike begin to gather outside Evergreen High School on Tuesday morning. The district canceled what would have been the first day of school on Monday. (Amanda Cowan / Columbian)

Teachers in the Evergreen and Washougal school districts headed to the picket lines this morning, demonstrating in favor of higher wages after contract negotiations across Clark County stalled.

At 9 a.m., dozens of teachers had gathered at Evergreen High School, among other schools across the district, carrying signs and wearing red in support of the union.

Districts and unions locally and across the state are negotiating new pay scales due to new school funding legislation. After allocating $7.3 billion to the state school system last year, the Legislature this year added nearly another $1 billion for teacher salaries.

Evergreen and Washougal teachers are expected to picket until this afternoon, with more districts slated to demonstrate tomorrow.

The union and the district in Hockinson bargained until 2 a.m. this morning. “We have had meaningful conversations and some movement has been made, but we have no deal yet. Our plan is to reconvene at 10am and keep working,” the union said in a statement.

The union has called for a membership meeting at 4 p.m. today. The planned first day of school in the district is Wednesday.

According to a statement from Vancouver Public Schools, the district and the union met for 13 hours Monday and will begin negotiations again today. “Progress has been made on class size, professional development and planning time for professional learning communities. Salary is the most significant remaining item,” the district said in the statement.

Camas teachers voted Monday night to strike, unless a deal can be reached. School in that district is scheduled to start Sept. 4.


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