Thursday, March 4, 2021
March 4, 2021

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Battle Ground school board to consider ‘legal action’

Spokeswoman for the district declined to specify whether this means the district intends to file an injunction

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published:

Battle Ground Public Schools on Tuesday announced a special board meeting to consider authorization of legal action to address the ongoing teachers strike.

The announcement came at 5:37 p.m., and the meeting agenda contained little information. The meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Lewisville Campus, 406 N.W. Fifth Ave., Battle Ground.

Rita Sanders, district spokeswoman, would not say if this means the district plans to file an injunction against the Battle Ground Education Association in the coming days.

“The board is considering legal action,” is all she would say.

If Battle Ground Public Schools files an injunction against its teachers, who are on strike in the midst of ongoing salary negotiations, it would be the only district in Clark County to do so. A judge ordered Longview’s teachers back to work Friday after the district filed an injunction, according to The Daily News in Longview. The union and district settled Sunday, avoiding the possibility of striking in contempt of court.

Marina Heinz, vice president of the Battle Ground Education Association, said she was unaware the meeting had been called when first contacted by The Columbian. She called the possible resolution “a scare tactic.”

“It’s unfortunate that the district would take us to court instead of negotiating in good faith,” Heinz said.

Meanwhile, the district and union are bargaining in Olympia with support from a mediator from the Public Employment Relations Commission and its executive director, Mike Sellars. Both the district and union expect they could be in Olympia for several days.

On Monday, the district announced it was seeking support from a fact finder, a type of non-binding arbitrator who establishes facts in negotiations that have not been resolved. However, Sanders said the soonest that fact-finding hearing could happen is Monday. She said attorneys for the Battle Ground Education Association told the district they needed that long to prepare.

Battle Ground Public Schools is the last school district in Southwest Washington whose teachers remain on strike. School districts and their teachers unions around the state remain at odds over how to spend new state money for schools following the resolution of the 2012 McCleary decision by the state Supreme Court.

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