Aberdeen teachers and community members plan to rally this afternoon after the Aberdeen School Board and Superintendent Alicia Henderson canceled a scheduled town hall meeting about the district’s budget.

The meeting was scheduled after a recent board meeting where teachers and supporters asked questions of the board and were told that the August 15th board meeting wasn’t a town hall-style meeting. Last week the administration announced a town hall meeting that was scheduled for Monday evening. Over the weekend the board issued another press release canceling the meeting.

The Aberdeen Education Association said in a press release Monday that they plan to organize and sponsor a community rally to support teachers and our students. The rally is 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm today (Aug. 20) at Aberdeen High School.

Classes in Aberdeen are scheduled to start Aug. 29. So far, Henderson has refused to negotiate the competitive pay raises needed to attract and keep qualified teachers for our students – even though the district has millions of dollars in additional state funding specifically for teacher salaries.

A press release from the union said: “Their decision to cancel Monday’s town hall meeting shows the Aberdeen School District administration cannot — or will not — defend or explain their inadequate teacher pay proposal. “Instead of being accountable to the community, school district administrators issued a statement blaming teachers for Henderson’s decision to cancel the town hall meeting.”

“Our administration’s decision to attack the reputation of Aberdeen teachers shows how little they value the work we do with our students,” said Michelle Reed, an Aberdeen elementary teacher and president of the AEA union. “The decision to cancel the community meeting and blame teachers is yet another example of Superintendent Henderson’s failed leadership. Instead of following Henderson toward a potential teacher strike, the Aberdeen School Board should listen to the community and support our teachers.

Reed concluded in the press release, “Aberdeen students deserve better.”

Contract negotiations are scheduled to resume Tuesday in Aberdeen. Teachers in dozens of Washington school districts have negotiated substantial pay raises already.