• Tumwater teachers, district head back to court Monday

    By: Shelby Miller


    TUMWATER, Wash. - Tumwater teachers will be back in court for a third hearing Monday morning if they don’t reach a deal with the school district. 

    “It’s very frustrating. We’re kind of making history here in Tumwater and it’s kind of history we never wanted to make,” said Tim Voie, Tumwater Education Association president. 

    Voie said the TEA is seeing movement from the district, but not enough. Friday teachers marched 4 miles around Tumwater to mark strike day 14. 

    “We really want them to commit to cutting class sizes, and what they’re willing to do is put more money in when you’re at overload, but that doesn’t lessen our class sizes, that doesn’t make for a better environment for our students or our teachers,” said Voie.

    Emily Dobson is supposed to be starting her senior year, instead, she’s planning student rallies.

    “We’re fighting for the teachers, but we’re really fighting for ourselves. It’s us who deserve these safe classrooms. It’s me who deserves this great education from these teachers I love and learn from,” said Dobson. 

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    She said she wants Superintendent John Bash’s attention. Graduation already got pushed back nearly two weeks, from June 6 to June 18.

    “That’s just my biggest frustration. I want to get back into school and learn,” said Dobson. 

    Tumwater mom Angela Varner wants her son, Izayah, to start second grade.

    “It’s not just affecting my kid that’s in school, it’s affecting the whole family,” she said.

    Varner is spending nearly $50 a day to put Izayah in day care while she’s in school. To make matters worse, she’s a substitute school bus driver, which means she’s not getting paid during the Tumwater teacher strike.

    “I don’t know when it’s going to start back up. I don’t know if me and my kids are going to be homeless. I don’t know any of that,” said Varner. 

    Voie said teachers won’t go to class without a contract. He’s prepared to head back to court next week if an agreement isn’t reached.

    In a statement, the district said, “We remain optimistic that we will reach an agreement quickly and that the hearing will not be necessary.”

    The enforcement hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in Thurston County Superior Court. 

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