Signs

Signs directed at Battle Ground Public School Superintendent Mark Ross are held up by members of the public who attended Wednesday's emergency board meeting. 

Among other things, the sign reads:

"Battle Ground School District teachers put our students at the center of everything they do. We are asking you, as the leader of the school district, to do the same. As superintendent, you have both the financial ability and the moral responsibility to negotiate the competitive, professional pay necessary to continue attracting and keeping the qualified, caring, committed educators Battle Ground students deserve." 

Hundreds of teachers in Battle Ground headed out into the pouring rain after Wednesday’s emergency board meeting drenched in anger, doubt and uncertain about their future in the district.

The meeting was brief and came on the heels of board’s regular meeting Monday night, where 40 people spoke.

Present board members Monty Anderson, Tina Lambert, Troy McCoy and Mavis Nickels voted 4-0 in favor of giving Superintendent Mark Ross authorization "to take any and all lawful steps necessary to terminate the strike” that has been ongoing since Aug. 29.

+2 
Ross

Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Mark Ross. 

The board’s resolution states that this work stoppage has “disrupted” and “harmed” the lives of students, parents and members of the community. Therefore, “the Superintendent is further authorized through the law firm of Vanderberg Johnson & Gandara, LLC to bring suit against any individual employee participating in a strike or concerted refusal to perform services.” This also goes for “any union, association or corporation” participating in these activities against the Battle Ground school district.

Board members hoped it wouldn’t come down to this vote to terminate the strike. Members of the Battle Ground Education Association say they will continue to fight for a new teaching contract with salary increases they have seen from other schools in Clark County.

“It’s really unfortunate that it has come to this,” said BGEA Vice President Marina Heinz. “The only way we are going to reach a tentative agreement is by bargaining at the table and this is just a distraction that is going to slow down the district and the Battle Ground Education Association from reaching that agreement.”

+2 
Letter about Ross

A letter given to The Reflector at Wednesday's board meeting. 

“We are ready to go back to the classroom, but we need a contract before we can do that,” she added. “We are asking for all of the $9.6 million that the state has sent down to go toward teacher salaries and that is why we are still on strike.”

Ross did not make a statement, but he did provide an update to the Fact Finding request the district asked for Sunday. He said that investigation will start Monday. Once it’s complete, there will be an additional five-day waiting period to obtain the results.

— This story will be updated.

(6) comments

Shotgun

I have driven by the jerks on strike and I'm wearing out my middle finger letting the pickets know my feelings. As far as I'm concerned they are worthless and should be replaced by non union teachers. Our kids will benefit greatly if that happens.

dsBGfootballDad

As a lawyer working in contract negotiation and forensic accounting I predict that the state fact-finding team is going to come back and say, "yes, the BGEA's proposed 19% is in fact possible with existing funds. However, it would come at the detriment of support services/admin staff/aides as well as programs and services. Should the distract accept BGEA's proposal, the district will find itself in financial crisis in three to four years as funds run out and staff and services will need to be reduced in order to keep up with what will be existing teacher salaries."

And at that time, the district will have the upper-hand. If I were their counsel, I would advise them to revert to an original proposal since it's now on public record that the BGEA is being unreasonable and their demands will hurt the community in the long-run. Teacher have a closing window of time to edit their demands, otherwise they are going to end up with LESS than is being offered on the table right now.

BGconcernedparent

I have three children in the BG district, a high schooler and two kids in elementary, one starting kindergarten this year. In the beginning, the teachers had my full support, but as time goes on, myself and many other parents in the district feel that our concern for our children is starting to outweigh our support for the teacher’s strike. We have reached a point where our children are only going to be more and more negatively impacted every day. For seniors, this delay could have serious consequences on their graduation and the delicate transition they go through into college next year. Many of the incoming kindergarteners are developing an uneasiness about school in general.
This has gone beyond an inconvenience about breaks and vacations; we are now in the realm of impacting lives, long term. I feel for the teachers, I get the frustration with the district, by as a parent, my concern for my children’s welfare is paramount.
Whichever side gets our kids into the classroom ASAP will win the majority of support from the parents and community.

csmith0005

Completely agree. We have vacations that'll most likely be impacted by the strike and family flying in for my daughter's graduation that'll probably have to reschedule, but we're supportive of our teachers and want them to have as much pay that's sustainable. But now I agree with the statement above that the first side to get our kids into class will get a huge sign of thanks from the community.

Icare4Clarkcounty

The school district is holding 'special board meeting to consider authorization of legal action', this quote comes from another publication and I was floored by it.

This action, IMHO, should have been done the very first day of striking. Since public employees are not allowed to strike;

Right of teachers and other employees to strike
Printer-friendly version
AGO 2006 No. 3 - Jan 31 2006
Attorney General Rob McKenna

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES – PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT – SCHOOL DISTRICTS – STRIKES – LABOR – COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – Right of teachers and other employees to strike.

1. State and local public employees, including teachers, have no legally protected right to strike.

2. State statute establishes no specific penalties for unlawful public employee strikes; in some cases, courts may grant injunctive relief to prevent or end unlawful strikes.

3. The Legislature could enact laws establishing penalties for unlawful public employee strikes, provided that such laws are consistent with protected free speech and other state and federal constitutional rights.

PhotoBug

The gauntlet has been thrown down by the district - how will the union respond when a judge okays the injunction? If the teachers come back into the classroom (with or without a new contract), there will be so much animosity that will spill over into the community and both sides will lose in the end. My message to both sides - you both have lost so much credibility in the community that this will hang over your heads like a dark cloud for the foreseeable future.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.