NEWS

What is Keizer’s teachers strike response? 

As a possible teachers strike looms for the Salem-Keizer community, many may be left wondering how this will affect the community. 

In an effort to try and put more and accurate information into Keizerite hands, the following contains a list from various sources about how this possible issue could be handled. 

The Salem-Keizer District 

In a meeting with the press on Feb. 16, Castañeda described how the district will do “absolutely everything” it can to prevent a strike from happening though if one does occur, schools will close down for both education as well as child-care. 

Castañeda discussed how the district may be able to keep providing meal services for children who rely on it though she did also note that “expired contracts with both teachers associations complicates the situation here in Salem-Keizer.” 

When asked if the district had any community partnerships that could help alleviate the burden a strike would cause, Castañeda responded that the district has extensive strike planning in place to include safety measures as well as communicating with parents and the media about the bargaining. 

Castañeda noted that “we need to tell parents that if it comes to that, you should not count [too much] on community-based organizations to be able to absorb 39,000 students.” 

“Schools are the only institution capable of doing that, and when our doors are forced to close, there isn’t a good plan B,” Castañeda went on. 

Keizer mayor 

Keizer mayor Cathy Clark noted that the city has been closely monitoring the situation and recognizes how serious the effects of a strike would be on Keizer families. 

“The well being of our children and youth is a top priority for our families and our community,” Clark said. 

She went on describing how the city has been a reliable source for accurate information in the past and would continue to extend that trend should a strike occur as well as serve as an authority figure to help “convene or coordinate services,” according to what the incident requires. 

Despite the scary nature of the issue, Clark noted that in any negative event, Keizerites will want a reliable direction so as to provide the most meaningful help. 

“This is uncharted territory for Keizer which just means we have to work together to figure it out,” Clark stated. 

Keizer Schools 

According to Salem-Keizer District spokesman Aaron Harada in an updated statement, if employees strike all Salem-Keizer Public Schools would be closed, Keizer included. 

No in-person or online classes would be held for any students for the duration of the strike, though Harada noted that schools would still provide grab-and-go style lunches for communities, similar to what happened during the pandemic. 

School facilities that have childcare programs would be able to continue doing so, however, Harada noted that each individual program may not still be providing services and that parents should double check with them for availability. 

“We currently have Champions, Salem Childhood Development Center and YMCA child care programs in our schools for before and after school care,” Harada said. 

For those wanting to learn more, the district will post situation updates at salkeiz.k12.or.us/students-families/strike-information.. 

More specifically, when asked about the issue and possible responses, here are how just a few Keizer schools commented: 

McNary: Cannot provide more than what the district has said, though, McNary principal Scott Gragg noted that his focus is on supporting the students and staff at this time. 

Claggett: Was reached though no official statement was made. 

Cummings: Was reached though no official statement was made. 

Gubser: Chose not to comment and instead referred to the plans from the Salem-Keizer district. 

Whiteaker: Was reached though no official statement was made. 

Keizer Elementary: Was reached though no official statement was made. 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-105

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