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Tacoma School Strike, Day 5

Phyllis Fletcher
09/20/2011

Teachers in Tacoma have been on strike for a week now. It's the fifth school day that everything except sports has been cancelled. KUOW's Phyllis Fletcher has this update.

TRANSCRIPT

Both sides appeared in court again in the morning. It was a continuation of a hearing from Friday to decide how the district would tell teachers they may have to go before a judge and defend themselves for staying on strike after a court order to go back to work.

Dan Voelpel is spokesperson for Tacoma Public Schools. He says the judge also made a comment that surprised him.

Voelpel: "One of the things he was contemplating was giving the district authorization to hire replacement teachers, either permanent replacements or temporary replacements. We're not interested in pursuing hiring replacement teachers. We have one goal at this point, and that is to reach agreement at the bargaining table so our teachers can be back in the classroom with our students."

The district and the teachers union still disagree on class size, pay and a system of transferring teachers out of their jobs. The district wants that system to use a measurement of teachers' job performance. The union prefers to use seniority.

State law does not allow public employees to strike. Districts who take unions to court can typically get a judge to order teachers back to work. But an order usually don't end a strike.

Teachers in Washington have gone to jail over it once. The judge in this case has said everyone who stayed on strike after his ruling last Wednesday could face fines.

I'm Phyllis Fletcher, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2011, KUOW

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