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Sunday, December 10, 2023
Dec. 10, 2023

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Camas teachers to strike Monday

No deal reached as of Sunday afternoon, schools to close

By , Columbian staff writer

The Camas Education Association will strike starting Monday after weekend contract negotiations with the Camas School District failed to result in a deal.

Schools throughout the district will be closed Monday, which was slated to be the first day of the 2023-2024 school year.

“Bargaining broke off for the day today (Sunday) after the district refused to make commitments to reasonable class sizes or equitable funding for music, (physical education), and libraries,” read a statement from the union shared Sunday evening. “The district is instead stockpiling nearly one out of every five student dollars, amassing $15 million in the bank while student needs are unmet.”

The district said in a statement on its website Sunday that it was “disappointed that (the union) is regressing.”

“Our district has presented its last, best, and final offer,” the statement reads. “In it, we offered to raise salaries in 2023 by 5.7% and in 2024 by 5.9%. Our district’s proposal would make (union) teachers among the highest-paid educators in the region.”

The union, which represents 460 certificated staff members in the Camas School District, had a members-only meeting Sunday evening to prepare for the strike. Union members will picket outside schools throughout Camas from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and hold an assembly outside the district’s board meeting at 5:30 p.m.

Bargaining teams from the union and the district will meet again Monday to meet to reach a deal and prevent a prolonged strike.

Two other districts still without deals

Evergreen Public Schools and Battle Ground Public Schools — each significantly larger in student population than Camas — are also facing potential school closures later this week over stalled contract negotiations.

Evergreen Public Schools and the Evergreen Education Association — the biggest teachers union in Southwest Washington — bargained Saturday but again failed to reach a tentative agreement. The two sides will return to the bargaining table Monday. School starts Wednesday, and the union’s current contract is set to expire Thursday.

Battle Ground Public Schools and the Battle Ground Education Association bargained both Saturday and Sunday but also failed to reach a deal as of Sunday afternoon. Like Evergreen, the district is set to start the school year Wednesday.

The Columbian will continue to follow contract negotiations in each of these districts this week.

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