Yes, I skipped a day. I came back from the union's community forum at United Methodist church last night, deeply depressed about the prospects for settlement. Within a few hours, the Tacoma Education Association had posted on their Facebook page that the district walked out of negotiations and canceled today's session. There really didn't seem to be anything to say other than "gee, looks like school's not starting any time soon."
However, today is another day. The district and the teachers union spent the morning in negotiations, at the order of Governor Gregoire. This afternoon they were called to meet with the governor, and in her words "stay untill their differences are reconciled and the school doors reopen."
We have yet to hear whether or not schools will be open tomorrow, however given the hour it does seem increasingly unlikely.
What caused the rift last night? According to the district, the TEA introduced new contract provisions (a little late in the game...) requiring a special hiring season limited to internal candidates, and proposed to limit the list of special programs to be preserved under new displacement rules only to a short, defined group of schools. (My children go to an arts-based elementary that for some reason did not make the list of "special programs," which made this blogger cranky and resulted in some almost bordering on not completely nice Facebook posts. I'm very scary.)
While that does sound frustrating and all, I would argue that it isn't nearly as bad as sitting in my living room listening to my kids argue over who is making what noise and whether or not it should be a constitutionally protected right. If the governor needs any help getting the parties to agree, I may be willing to rent them out (for the very reasonable fee of only $194.99 per hour) as mediators.
Today, we checked out one of the (free) Metro Parks community center drop in programs. The kids had a wonderful time and I got a little painless grocery shopping in. Definitely recommended.