Parents look for child care options after Sumner-Bonney Lake paraeducator strike closes school

SUMNER, Wash. -- Parents of the nearly 10,000 students in the Sumner-Bonney Lake School district had to find alternative care for their children Friday, after the district cancelled classes due to a paraeducator strike.

Friday, for the first time in at least 30 years, the Sumner-Bonney Lake School district cancelled classes after paraeducators at all 14 schools went on strike.

The paraeducators say they are paid less than similar positions in surrounding districts.

Some parents say they were notified the strike may happen, but say it's still surprising.

"We found out late last night they were going to be on strike today, so it didn't leave a lot of time to organize daycare,"  said Kara Twiggs.

Twiggs was picking up her two children from the Robert Miller Rec Center in Sumner. She says her children usually stay there during the week after school, but Friday they were at the rec center all day.

The Robert Miller Gym site and the Donald Elsmann Elementary site were opened Friday  from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for parents in need, but it comes with a cost.

"They charged an extra $20 per child per day."

Twiggs tells Q13 News that the extra cost can add up, but she knows she's lucky because the option is only available to parents who already have their kids signed up.

"It’s a hardship; It’s not something you plan on having to worry about. You send your kids to school and pick ‘em up and then all of a sudden they’re not going to school," said Jeremy Knapp.

Knapp's son did not go to school on Friday due to the strike. Knapp says his wife had to change her schedule and work from home because of it.

However, that will not always be an option.

"We're still trying to figure how we're going to work it out next week, and hopefully it doesn't go that long," he said.

School officials say negotiations went into the evening on Friday and that they're prepared to continue through the weekend.