First day of school in Tumwater, Rainier and Centralia delayed by teacher strikes

Rallies supporting teachers in Tumwater and North Thurston districts

Rallies were held recently in support of teachers in Tumwater and North Thurston districts as negotiations for contracts continue.
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Rallies were held recently in support of teachers in Tumwater and North Thurston districts as negotiations for contracts continue.

The first day of school for Tumwater students will be delayed by a teachers strike, the Tumwater School District announced Monday.

Teachers went on strike Saturday when their contract expired. The two sides negotiated for six hours Monday but no deal was reached.

The first day of school was scheduled for Wednesday. Now the district says the first day will be delayed, but it did not say when school will start.

Teachers picketed schools Tuesday, with bargaining set to resume Wednesday.

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Tumwater is one of many Washington school districts with contract negotiations coming down to the wire because of major changes state lawmakers have made to the way schools are funded.

Rainier School District

Teachers in Rainier went on strike Tuesday.

The Rainier Education Association said little progress has been made on a contract deal since negotiations started in June. Issues include teacher pay and class sizes.

School was supposed to start Tuesday for most grades, but it was canceled due to the strike.

Teachers and their supporters waive signs along Centre Street in Rainier on Monday. The district now says it has a tentative contract agreement with the Rainier Education Association and that school will start Thursday. Steve Bloom sbloom@theolympian

Centralia School District

Centralia teachers also went on strike Tuesday. A district spokesman said negotiations are ongoing. But the district announced about 6 p.m. Tuesday that school would not open on Wednesday as planned.

The district posted this on Facebook Tuesday night:

“Due to the Centralia Education Association work stoppage, all schools in Centralia will be closed on Wednesday, September 5th. Schools will be closed until further notice, but please watch for daily updates each evening. Athletic activities will continue as scheduled.

“The District will be offering free sack lunches to any child age 18 or younger from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. at both Cooks Hill Community Church and the covered picnic area at Borst Park. Lunches will be available on a first come, first served basis.”

North Thurston Public Schools

Teachers were still negotiating as of Monday evening, but schools were set to start Wednesday as planned.

Olympia School District

Olympia teachers ratified a new two-year contract last week. The first day of school is Wednesday.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869