Tera Riddle can't remember teachers refusing to work in the two decades she has been employed by the Monroe School District.

Members of the Monroe Education Association voted unanimously Thursday to allow the union's collective bargaining team to call a strike if necessary, she said. A tentative agreement hasn't been reached with administrators as of Friday, and contracts expired at midnight.

“I know as a member of Monroe, the teachers here are very passionate about what we do, and we love our community, and we all want a resolution, and we want what's best for kids and our staff members,” Riddle said.

Around 80,000 students scheduled to begin school this week weren't in class, according to the Washington Education Association. Educators in seven school districts are already on strike, according to Washington Education Association data.

Only a few days are left before kids are set to head to their Monroe classrooms.

Sixth- and ninth-graders will start on Tuesday — the official first day of the 2018-2019 school year is Wednesday — and kindergartners will be in school on Monday, Sept. 10. Riddle said the bargaining teams are scheduled to meet again Tuesday, if there isn't movement sooner.

The two groups first sat down in June, Riddle said. They have met a dozen times since, according to the school district.

The hold up is largely because money from the McCleary decision is on the table, Riddle said. The Washington Supreme Court ruling found education was not being amply funded in Washington, as is the state’s paramount duty. Legislators settled on a solution this spring, after years of disagreement.

Riddle said everyone has to start over in a way, and figure out what to do with the new funds. That includes support for services and programs, as well as compensation for staff, she said.

The MEA sent out a Friday update in a news release. The school district will receive millions of dollars from the state in the next few years because of the new plan to fund basic education.

The money is there for an agreement that “secures fair and competitive pay” for Monroe's certificated educators, the release states. Educators and other community members held a few rallies in the past two weeks in support of the MEA's efforts.

“We are back at the table today and we hope the district is ready to provide the compensation funded by the state that our members deserve,” said MEA president Shaerie Bruton in the Friday release. “It is critical that Monroe is able to attract and retain the great educators we have today for the sake of our current students and future generations.”

Following further discussions between the Monroe Education Association and school district on Friday, there has not been any further communications released detailing whether that late bargaining was successful.

Dozens of education associations have already negotiated pay increases for their members throughout the state, according to the WEA. Most are more than 10 percent.

The Skykomish Education Association negotiated a 28.7 percent average salary increase, according the WEA. The North River Education Association in Western Washington was able to successfully advocate for a 34 percent average increase.

Washington State School Directors Association executive director Tim Garchow cautions against comparing school districts. Each school district will receive different amounts of state funding for the same amount of teachers, he said in a WSSDA news release.

“This means that one district’s ability to provide a salary increase may be dramatically less than another district located right next door,” he said in the release.

Beginning teachers made $50,213 last year, according to the school district. The most experienced teachers made $96,402.

The school district's team proposed a 12.3 percent increase this year for beginning teachers, a 5.1 percent increase for the second year, and a 6 percent increase for the third year. They also proposed the most experienced teachers receive 11 percent, 2.4 percent and 2.9 percent raises for the next three years.

School district administrators will make 1.9 percent more this year, according to the school district.

Monroe is among 10 percent of Washington's 295 school districts that has “financial limitations on their ability to provide sustainable salary increases consistent with other school districts,” according to the school district.

One of those is a 52 percent decrease in local levy dollars the school district can collect because of a new limit set by the McCleary decision, according to the school district.

“We believe the proposal presented to the Monroe Education Association (MEA) this week provides competitive salaries while maintaining critical services and unique programming that our students deserve,” according to the school district. “Our proposal ensures the long term financial stability of the district which is a commitment of the School Board and our duty to the MSD taxpayers.”

The school district bargaining team members are ready to work over the weekend, according to a school district news release. Families will be notified by the school district through email, text and robocall, if teachers go on strike.