Wednesday, the Kennewick School District announced they have enlisted the services of a mediation firm to "explore" possible solutions to their contract situation with the Kennewick Education Association (KEA), the teachers union.

There have been negotiations going on for some time, but the KEA and KSD have not been able to reach a contract agreement with the teachers.

The Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC)  has been requested to provide mediation services. The PERC is the state agency that jurisdiction over public sector labor relations and collective bargaining in Washington state.

Their wide scope covers cities, counties, hospital districts and school districts among it's 17 public employment catagories.

The District says the KEA has agreed to participate in mediation sessions scheduled for Wednesday August 21st, and if necessary, Thursday August 22nd. in hopes of reaching a tentative agreement on a contract.

KEA members approved by a vote a strike slated for the first day of school, August 27th, if such tentative agreement is not reached.

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