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Teachers Vote to Obey Order to End Walkout

Wednesday's classes will be the first of the year for the Washington state school district.

October 21, 2003|From Associated Press

EVERETT, Wash. — Striking Marysville teachers voted Monday night to obey a judge's order and head to their classrooms on Wednesday, ending the longest teachers' strike in state history.

The vote was 420 to begin teaching; 181 to stay on strike, said Rich Wood, a Washington Education Assn. spokesman.

Wednesday's classes will be the first of this school year for the Marysville School District's 11,000 students.

"It is time for all the adults to grow up and start looking at their obligations to these children," Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda C. Krese said earlier Monday, ordering the end of the strike after four days of court-ordered negotiations failed to yield a contract agreement.

School district Supt. Linda Whitehead said, "I'm excited the teachers and students are coming back to school."

Had teachers decided to violate the order, they could have faced fines of $250 a day.

"Marysville teachers will return to the classrooms and our students," said Elaine Hanson, president of the Marysville Education Assn., "But our fight doesn't end tonight."

Teachers will continue to seek "a fair and reasonable contract" through negotiations, Hanson said. No talks have been scheduled, she said.

Teachers have asked for 7.5% in raises over three years, but the district said it can't afford that.

Two weeks ago, parents who formed a group called "Tired of the Strike" filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction forcing teachers to report to their classrooms. The school district joined the lawsuit a week later. On Wednesday, Krese told the union and school district to negotiate eight hours a day for four days, but both sides said they made no progress.

Teachers had taken to the picket lines Sept. 2, on what was supposed to be the first day of school.

Chloe Heath, an eighth-grader at Marysville Junior High, said she's excited to get back to school. "I've been sitting at home doing nothing," she said. "I've been sitting here playing my drums with my friends."

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