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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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As school year nears, Spokane teachers still need new contract

Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Redinger sent out an email Wednesday evening advising parents the district is still negotiating a contract with teachers as the first day of school approaches.

The current contract expires Monday. Redinger wrote that she values the work being done in the classrooms, and contract talks are continuing. Teacher pay remains a “challenging issue,” she said.

“Please understand that the district is doing everything to resolve negotiations as quickly as possible to ensure that our schools will remain open, and that learning will continue uninterrupted in our classrooms,” Redinger wrote.

Some district teachers picketed Wednesday evening outside the Spokane Public Schools headquarters downtown, holding signs that said “Fair contract now.”

An email circulated by Tammi Bouchard to other members of the Spokane Education Association said teachers will meet at 4 p.m. Friday to discuss their contract options. She wrote that the gap between what the union wants and the district is willing to offer is “enormous.”

The district received $23 million in new funding this year and the union believes it should be spent for “fair and reasonable wages for our hard work,” Bouchard wrote.

“We are working very hard to help the District understand that this isn’t a ‘business as usual’ situation,” Bouchard wrote. “For years, the District has gotten away with balancing their budget on our backs. Not this time.”

Spokane Public Schools teachers voted in May to participate in a one-day walkout to protest low wages and the Legislature’s failure to fully fund education, which includes wages. Schools shut down May 27, and students had to make up the day at the end of the school year.

Representatives for the school district and the Spokane Education Association did not respond to messages seeking comment late Wednesday.

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