Although an exact date hasn’t been established, teachers in the Peninsula Education Association will join ongoing rolling walkouts statewide.
The Peninsula School District was informed of the decision Thursday afternoon and sent out a notification to parents.
The PEA also discussed an action plan should there be a strikes by other districts in the fall. That is dependent on whether or not the state teachers union feels the Legislature has offered significant funding for basic education.
Jim Falcocchio, president of the PEA, issued a statement on behalf of the organization.
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“Both measures were member-generated and reflect the disappointment and frustration we have with the inability of the Washington State Legislature to honor its paramount duty and fully fund education K to higher ed,” the statement reads.
Peninsula teachers are not the only ones locally who have considered action. Franklin Pierce teachers are scheduled to vote Monday on a possible walkout.
The frustration stems from a lack of funding for the smaller class size initiative passed last fall and the McCleary Decision, where the state Supreme Court has held the Legislature in contempt until education is adequately funded.
Joining the statewide movement of rolling walkouts is in no way directed at district administration, Falcocchio said. According to the PEA’s statement, it has “a respectful and collaborative relationship” with the district.
The union believes that if the Legislature were fulfilling its duty of funding basic education, the pressure would not be put on the taxpayers and the district to fund needs such as busing, technology, training and support staff.
“We certainly share the frustration they do with Olympia,” PSD Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said.
The one-day absence of teachers will not change the 180-day requirement for the schools, so there may be the need to move the last day of school to June 22. Currently, the school year is scheduled to end on Friday, June 19.
Without a date set, the district does not know if it will need to cancel school.
“We’re kind of on hold until we hear the date,” Cuzzetto said.
Falcocchio said there will be another meeting early next week to set a date.
As of Tuesday, teachers in 19 other school districts whose teachers are represented by the Washington Education Association had voted to strike or walk out against the Legislature. None were in Pierce County.