Ridgefield teachers are on strike Friday and classes have been canceled after teachers and the district failed to agree on a contract.
The Ridgefield Education Association said in a statement that their main sticking points in the contract negotiations continue to be bolstering mental health supports in schools, increasing staffing for special education classes, and developing a better student intervention program.
Union co-president Elizabeth Stamp wrote that a strike, which takes about 200 teachers out of classrooms, is a last resort.
“None of us want to be on strike, but ignoring our dysfunctional intervention program, unsafe staffing levels and the need for more counselors when the district has the money to do something about it is unacceptable,” Stamp said.
District officials could not be reached Friday morning for comment.
After teachers signaled Thursday evening they intended to strike, district officials canceled classes districtwide. There are seven schools in the Ridgefield School District and roughly 4,000 students enrolled, according to the latest state data.
According to the district website, meal services will also be canceled. However, middle and high school athletics will continue as scheduled.
The strike comes more than a week after the union first authorized it. According to Stamp, more than 90% of the union members authorized a strike at the union’s Aug. 29 meeting. However, they declared they would wait until at least Sept. 7.
The two sides met for negotiations four times this week, according to the district.
“We are united with the Ridgefield community demanding what our students deserve and we’re calling on the district to do the right thing,” Stamp said in a statement.
Talks between the district and the union are expected to be ongoing.