Update: Striking teachers, district heading to Gregoire's office

Sep 21, 2011

Striking teachers and school district officials in Tacoma could not come to an agreement by the deadline set by the governor, so they've filed into cars and headed to Olympia to continue bargaining this afternoon.

Gov. Chris Gregoire told both sides earlier today that she wanted them back at the bargaining table at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and if they don't have an agreement by 3 p.m. she would see them in her office.

It's time to "get the doors of education open and put the kids back in the classrooms," Gregoire said. "I can’t wait any longer. 28,000 students are sitting home. Parents have every reason to be irate. I’ve got to get those kids back in the classroom. So, I’m going to bring them to the table."

 

 

The question of whether the strike is legal or illegal, Gregoire said, "isn’t going to put 28,000 students back in the classroom. They’ve got to come to the table, work out their differences, understand this is about kids not adults and get the doors open to those schools."

The governor has no direct control of schools in Washington, which has a separate Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Wednesday is the seventh day classes have been canceled in the state's third-largest district, after Seattle and Spokane. Tacoma has about 1,900 teachers and 28,000 students.

Strikers are ignoring a court order to return to work.