Tacoma (Wash.) District Calls Off School Due to Continuing Strike

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tacoma Public Schools closed before they opened today, as teachers continued to walk picket lines despite a judge?s order to end their strike that began Tuesday.

School had been scheduled to open on a two-hour delay, while the school district had asked teachers to report to work at their usual school start time.

About 7:20 a.m., the school district announced that schools would remain closed due to insufficient staffing.

At least 18 teachers were walking a picket line at Jason Lee Middle School this morning. When the group was asked if any of them planned to work today, no one replied.

Dave Baughman, a Stadium High School teacher picketing at Jason Lee, said he planned to be on the picket line after the scheduled 7:30 a.m. start at Stadium.

He said the temporary restraining order issued by Judge Bryan Chuscoff Wednesday names several teachers and two staff people. He said they would be reporting to work.

?Each teacher is going to make a determination as to what they?re doing,? Baughman said.

Likewise, Lowell Elementary teacher Richelle Cross said she would probably stay on the picket lines today.

She said she hasn?t been a union activist for most of her 20-year teaching career. But she said the school district?s negotiating position on teacher transfers and reassignments has pushed her into it.

She said she want?s contract language that is ?concise and measurable, so that teacher to teacher, administrator to administrator and building to building, decisions regarding transfer and reassignment can be made fairly.?

While several motorists honked in apparent support of picketing teachers this morning, one parent said he is unhappy with the situation.

Michael Hinkley said his son wants to be back in class.

?If money wasn?t involved, I would support it,? he said. ?But everytime they go on strike, money is always involved.?

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