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Striking Ridgefield teachers vote no confidence in district leaders

RIDGEFIELD, Wash. (Sept. 15, 2022) — As the Ridgefield teachers’ strike enters its fifth day Thursday, the following release was distributed by the Ridgefield Education Association on Wednesday:

Ridgefield teachers overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence against Ridgefield schools Superintendent, Nathan McCann; Assistant Superintendent, Chris Griffith; and Michael Baskette, executive director of student services.

TAKE A STANDSend a message to the Ridgefield School Board telling them to offer a fair contract to their teachers.

The union and district started meeting in June to bargain the collective bargaining agreement.

On Friday, Sept. 9, the Union agreed to the district’s request to work with a mediator from the state Public Employment Relations Commission. Negotiations continued over the weekend and mediation has been ongoing this week. Union members have been surprised and disappointed with the district’s snail-like pace to come to the table prepared to work on creative solutions.

This disappointment in district management’s actions was reflected Tuesday night during the Ridgefield School Board meeting where more than 100 union members, parents and community supporters spoke in support of educators and students.

Ridgefield EA educators want increased supports for our students. Our students need improved staffing in special education classrooms. Our district experienced huge turnover in our special education staff in the past two years. We have to make changes or our educators will burn out and ultimately it’s our students who suffer. We know students learn best when there is consistency and continuity.After the last two years of uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unacceptable that RSD does not understand the toll that has taken on our students and educators.

The district’s dysfunctional student intervention program is not working for students or educators. Interventions should be driven by identified student need. The district continues to resist efforts to ensure better outcomes for students. We need to utilize teacher’s professional judgement to provide supports, interventions and enrichment.REA members also want competitive pay to recruit and retain high-quality educators. Despite state-budget funding that would fully fund an increase, district officials refuse to offer employees a fair deal.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!