UPDATE: The paraeducators union agreed to a three-year contract, and classes resumed Tuesday.
SUMNER, Wash. – School is cancelled again Monday for thousands of students in the Sumner-Bonney Lake Public School District while contract negotiations with paraeducators continue.
Bargaining teams reached a tentative agreement late Sunday afternoon. The agreement came hours before a special school board meeting that was eventually canceled.
“It could be good, it could be bad. I mean, we don’t know,” said Bobbie Sumptor, a special education paraeducator. “I’m just crossing my fingers for [Monday].”
The Sumner Paraeducators Association represents about 200 paraeducators who authorized a strike last week. The first day of the strike was Friday, when school was also cancelled, as dozens of paraeducators marched to district headquarters.
The Association is meeting Monday afternoon at Mountain View Middle School to vote on the tentative three-year contract.
The teachers union and supporters from the community stood in solidarity with paraeducators.
“It’s disappointing to see them at such an impasse over a very solvable issue,” said Jerry Johnson. “As a citizen of Sumner we expect more out of our school board and our school administrators because that’s the level that we’ve set for our town and for our own kids.”
Paraeducators in the district say they deserve fair pay, and numbers show wages in the district are lower compared to neighboring districts.
“We’re losing those great [paraeducators] to other districts and that is impacting our kids,” said Sumptor about going on strike. “As hard as it was, it was also a good feeling that we were fighting for the best for [the kids].”
School administrators have previously told Q13 News they support paraeducators in the district, but did not give an official statement following the tentative agreement.
For information regarding school events, childcare and free meals click here.