Ferndale teachers vote to strike


by KING 5 News


Posted on September 7, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 8 at 6:50 AM

FERNDALE, Wash. – Teachers in Ferndale will hit the picket lines Wednesday after voting overwhelmingly to go on strike.

Over 90 percent of those who voted Tuesday said yes to a strike. Teachers are asking for more planning time. The district currently offers the lowest amount for elementary teachers in the area.

"We've been asking for years and years for more planning time so that we can prepare quality instruction for our students," said Tracie Morris, President of the Ferndale Education Association. "We have 120 minutes per week, where everyone else gets 150 plus."

Another issue is health insurance choices.

Teachers are digging in their heels.

"We hear a lot of 'Yes, we'll support you' but then no action. We have been nice for too many years," said teacher Michelle Taylor.

The school district says giving teachers more prep time will cost nearly $500,000. Superintendent Linda Quinn says the district can't afford it.

The Ferndale School District says providing more classroom planning time would cost half a million dollars which the district can't afford.

"Time costs money. We would have to hire four teachers to fill in."

According to Ferndale School Superintendant, Linda Quinn, Ferndale's twelve schools were scheduled to open Wednesday for nearly 5,000 students. Schools will be closed but sports programs will open as planned.

The school district may go to court to get an injunction if the strike isn't settled by Friday.

Negotiation will continue Wednesday as teachers set up picket lines at schools.

"It's no good for the kids. What's in it for the kids?" says one parent.

The union represents about 300 educators. The district has about 5,000 students at 11 schools.