Money

Karl Lemire, a resident of the Battle Ground school district, lays $9 down in front of Superintendent Mark Ross, asking that he use it to pay teachers.  

Battle Ground educators and the district remain miles apart in resolving the strike. And students and parents are caught in the middle.

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Inside

Members of the public packed Monday night's board meeting. 

More than 40 citizens spoke during Monday’s public meeting at the Lewisville Campus. The room was packed to the brim, with many people standing, and a crowd of supporters gathered outside. Many of those parents, students and residents of the district expressed their frustrations and their lack of trust in Ross and members of the board.

At one point, Karl Lemire, a resident of the district, gave Ross $9 and asked if he would put that toward teacher salaries. Ross said he would have to split that amount in half to account for the levy he expects will decrease by 50 percent in the next two years.

Before the public comments, Ross read a statement backing the district’s proposal to increase salaries by 11.6 percent. He believes the Battle Ground Education Association’s request for a 19.6 increase is not sustainable and could lead to more budget deficits and possible staffing cuts in the future.

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Courtyard

Supporters gather in the Lewisville courtyard prior to Monday's board meeting.  

“Both sides have continued to disagree. Therefore, we have asked for an independent fact finding to look at each side’s proposals and come to an unbiased conclusion on the extent of availability of McCleary funding,” Ross said.

“We apologize to our community members for the delay to the start of school,” he added. “Our biggest desire is to get back to the business of educating our students as soon as possible with a budget that is sustainable and does not add further burden to our tax pay citizens.”

When asked about the mediation session in Olympia Tuesday, Ross explained that a Fact Finder will talk to both parties about arranging a meeting. It could be Wednesday, it could be Thursday, it could be the following week. He said the district’s priority is to meet Wednesday. He added that there will be a five-day waiting period before the Fact Finder report is released.

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Mark Ross

Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Mark Ross listens to one of 40 citizen testimonies. 

Citizens spent the duration of the three-hour meeting pleading with the board members to settle up with the teachers. They challenged Ross’ statement that all of the McCleary money is in the district’s current offer. They said if Battle Ground teachers accepted that offer, they would still be the lowest paid teachers in Clark County.

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Sign

The school board allowed all of the people who signed up to speak three minutes to share their thoughts. President Ken Root read the rules before the public comments started and asked the audience not to clap or cheer because it disrupts the process.

As the meeting eclipsed the two-and-a-half hour mark and the final speaker finished, the audience roared with applause. Root closed the meeting to the public and moved it to a different room.

The crowd did not get the opportunity to witness the board’s unanimous decision to suspend salary or wages for all employees involved in the strike if the work stoppage lasts through Monday, Sept. 17. The suspension would last until they returned to work. Health insurance would not be affected if that happens. 

This story will be updated.

(5) comments

BG Parent

When was the last time you got a 19.6 percent raise in pay? This strike is ridiculous!! The common theme I hear from the teachers is that they are overworked and underpaid. How is the average salary of 68000 plus all of the benifits they receive underpaid? And by demanding more than is sustainable how is the district going to be able to hire more teachers to reduce the workload? All of the citizens jumping on the bandwagon with the teachers and union cronies without really understanding economics need to keep to yourselves until you know the real details. I do not disagree that the teachers in our district are doing a great job but this is not about that. It is about greed on the part of the teachers who are holding our community hostage with their illegal tactics.

PhotoBug

Well, the other shoe has dropped. The school board has ok'ed the superintendent to have an injunction filed against the strikers to go back to work. If there was any bitterness before this, it will be increased with the teachers being forced back to work. It will spill over into the classrooms and meetings between building administrators and teachers. And, the public will see and hear about it... and remember how both sides acted, for a very long time.

BGDad

It's disgraceful that this circus continues. The School District should file an injunction immediately! Teachers say they provide a necessary service like Police and Fire. Police unions settle contracts without striking, and sometimes go extended periods without a contract. There is a very small handful of people actually involved in these negotiations, the rest are very simply a distraction from that process and should be ashamed of themselves. Dancing around in bright red tutu's and making music videos on YouTube will do nothing to help this process, it only penalizes our kids while the teachers play. Every day they refuse to work costs my child time they need to prepare for AP exams, which affect the rest of their school career. How disgustingly selfish. The raises that have been offered by the district are generous and might be sustainable. What the BG teachers association is demanding will cost millions more in taxes once this small pot of money runs out and is absolutely not sustainable. Get over this narcissistic tirade and do what you are already paid very well to do.

Icare4Clarkcounty

Absolutely right on the money BGDad. I just met with my Grandaughter yesterday and she is really upset about this and the teachers unwillingness to do their job. She also relayed a message to me about a student who dislikes school, but has actually cried tears to restart her classes. That's a remarkable state of depression for such a young student to have to live in. What a disgrace to our community these teachers have dealt us. Strikes ought never to be allowed and the rest of the commumnity need to strongly be on the students side, not the greedy teachers side.

Justmyopinion

BGDad,
I have never in my life commented on a newspaper before but you sir made me sign up! My daughter in law is the reason I am responding to your very rude, very inaccurate description of teachers. That AP test your son needs to take, his teacher has worked on. His school career? Given to him by a dedicated selfless teacher. Do you think that these teachers that put up with the public’s children do it for the money? Nope! If they did they would have used their AP tests scores, their school career and their as you called it, disgusting selfish selves to have a career that didn’t use money out of their own pockets everyday! My daughter in law puts her own money back into her students. I think her paycheck from teaching is used mostly for daycare for her kids and supplies for her classroom. These teachers haven’t had a raise in years. You? When was your last one? The teachers aren’t playing sir, they are trying to survive without sinking into despair. They are trying to find ways to smile while their lives have been disrupted. They are feeling like BGSD has absolutely no respect for them. If you walked into each teachers classroom you would see the love and preparation that they have put into the coming school year. My daughter in laws classroom is darling and so filled with love for each of her students. This has been so hard on her, knowing that the district doesn’t care about the teachers, giving themselves all raises while these teachers are barely making ends meet.
So the narcissistic tirades as you call them, are only pleas for a salary increase from what was promised and allotted by the state. A cost of living raise is needed so they can sustain their basic needs. Please teach your son to respect his teachers and support them in all they do. It’s not an easy job.

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