Teacher Contracts

Leo Blaser, 5, pickets with his dad outside of Centralia High School on Tuesday morning in Centralia.

While Centralia teachers continue their strike to negotiate new contracts, many parents are left without childcare options.

“Today I had to send my child into the woods with my family members who are loggers because I have no child care,” said Candace Richards, whose son was supposed to attend Fords Prairie on Wednesday. “And I do not blame the teachers for this at all.”

Richards said that although she supports the teacher strike, many parents are left without options for child care.

“It’s going to affect me severely,” Richards said. “I’m going to have to take my kid to work. Most people don’t have that option. … If I was anybody else, I wouldn’t be able to.”

Kylie Sexsmith, who has two children in the district, is a stay-at-home mom and said childcare isn’t as big of a problem for her as it would be other families. However, she noted that many families didn’t have much time to prepare alternatives.

“I think (Centralia School District Superintendent Mark) Davalos thought things would go differently and teachers wouldn’t strike,” Sexsmith said. “It left a lot of parents scrambling, for sure.”

Monica Laufenberg, who has four children in the school district, said she is in favor of the teacher strike and noted that the strike isn’t just about salary, but behavior issues in the schools and class sizes.

“I definitely wouldn’t want to be strong armed by a court order,” Laufenberg said of the injunction Centralia School District plans to file to compel teachers to break the strike and go to work. “Besides the pay, there are other issues on the table.”

Laufenberg said she was not as severely impacted by the delayed school start date because she reached out to family members as soon as she heard teachers may strike.

“I actually just kind of have a little side business, so my schedule is kind of flexible, but as soon as the teachers voted to strike … (I knew that) if I wasn’t able to be here that I would have a back up plan,” Laufenberg said.

Richards said she has yet to speak to a parent that doesn’t support the teacher strike.

“I have never spoken to one that isn’t in support,” Richards said. “It sucks for everybody — nobody wants a strike. We want our kids to go back to school, but the district shouldn’t be allowed to steal their money.”

Richards’ son was accepted into the Olympia School District, but Richards decided to keep him in Centralia after two board members voted against the strike action on Sunday.

“I put my faith back in the community,” Richards said. “Now, they are filing an injunction without the strike resolution being passed.”

Recommended for you

(3) comments

PaulWolfe

Hmmmm... pick and choose your parents for comments Chronicle. Relatives of teachers and friends of teachers? Some Centralians disagree with the teachers. Davalos isn't CSD's savior, but the teachers aren't really showing much love for the kids either. This is all about adults butting heads trying to 'win' and the losers are Centralia's children.

tduffy

The contract needs to fall within the budget and allow for raises for other deserving workers in the district besides teachers. The current year income with levy and state money is an outlier so this must be taken into account. I don't want to see layoffs next year when the big income bump from this year goes away.

Cowlitzfisherman

The teachers have lobbied the local newspapers just like they have lobbied our legislators! It's all about how much money they can bleed the public for and they are artists on using the kids to get their ways. When will we ever wake up? If we had more charter schools, these stupid teacher strikes would not be happening.

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.