Camas School District: ‘There will be no school tomorrow’

Camas teachers set to strike Monday, Aug. 28, on what was to have been the first day of the 2023-24 school year in Camas

The first day of school in the Camas School District will likely be delayed. 

Students were expected to return to their classrooms for the start of the 2023-24 school year on Monday, Aug. 28, but school district officials said Sunday, Aug. 27, that the teachers’ union told district officials “there will be no school tomorrow (as) they intend to strike.”

Barring any last-minute concessions from either the school district or the teachers’ union, schools will remain closed Monday as Camas teachers go on strike for higher salary increases, lower class sizes and an assurance that the district will provide adequate funding to individual schools for music, physical education, health and library programs.  

“Today, (the union) presented a comprehensive proposal with higher than previously requested salary increases as well as lower than previously requested class sizes,” district officials stated Sunday on the CSD’s labor negotiations web page.

The district said it had presented its “last, best and final offer,” which would raise educators’ salaries by 5.7% in 2023 and by 5.9% in 2024.

“Our district’s proposal would make (Camas) teachers among the highest-paid educators in the region,” the school district stated on its website. “Our highest-paid teachers would earn over $118,363 in 2023-24 and $124,991 in 2024-25.”

The district said the teachers’ union has asked for salary increases that would bump those “highest-paid” figures up to $121,653 in 2023-24, and $129,746 in 2024-25, and, in its third year of the contract “would put the highest-paid teachers at $135,886.”

Michael Sanchez, vice president of the Camas Education Association (CEA), the union representing around 450 Camas educators, told The Post-Record last week that the union feels its “proposal is pretty reasonable.”

“We’ve shown ourselves at the bargaining table to be solutions-oriented and have been flexible in trying to understand what the district’s concerns are and really trying to find common ground,” Sanchez said. 

The teachers’ union has said it went into this current round of contract negotiations expecting the school district negotiators would use “a more local measure of inflation” when it came time to bargain for salary increases. 

“We expected (the district) would continue this so that we could focus on bargaining for what our students need,” the union stated on its website. “But the district put a change on the table that could cost us 5% of our pay and would mean we’re falling behind the cost of living.”
The union has “any rollback in pay will hurt students” and that the school district “needs competitive pay to attract and retain talented teachers in our competitive market.”
“This cut could mean our students have fewer experienced, dedicated teachers,” the union stated on its website. 

The union’s most recent proposal calls for the district to ensure that music, physical education, health and library programs are “equitably available to all schools” and that the school district will “provide each school with program-support allocations … distributed within sites and programs on a per-student basis.” 

The union has also asked the district to have class sizes that “better align with the state’s K-3 enhanced class size funding and state targets,” which would mean maximum class sizes of 18 in kindergarten; 22 in first and second grades; 24 in third through fifth grades; 30 in middle school grades; and 31 in high school grades. 

The district has answered common questions on its website ( and said the district does not have enough substitute teachers to open school during the teachers’ strike. 

“Currently, we have around 150 substitutes, which doesn’t come close to the number of teachers we would need,” the district stated. “Additionally, many also substitute in other districts.”
The school district said its coaches have a separate contract “not impacted by a CEA strike” so athletics could continue while schools are closed. 

Sanchez said in a recorded message to the Camas community posted on the union’s website Thursday, Aug 24, that union members “want nothing more than to be welcoming our students back on Monday morning.”
“It’s up to CSD now to show it values our students’ futures and come to an agreement that reflects that,” Sanchez said. 

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