In what was to be the first week of classes for many of the nation's school districts, well over 30,000 teachers and other school employees were off the job , affecting some 600,000 pupils. Money led the list of grievances in most contract disputes.
* In Philadelphia, marathon negotiations aimed at resolving a four-day-old strike continued the day before the scheduled opening of school for 220,000 students.
* In Newark, N.J., a spokesman for the Newark Teachers Union said he was not hopeful for a quick settlement of the contract dispute between the 62,000 -student school district and its 5,500 union members, who walked off the job Wednesday.
* In Rochester, N.Y., 2,500 school district employees staged the first-ever strike, with teachers defying a state law penalizing them two days' pay for each day they strike. They were able to close 36 schools on the first day of school, affecting 34,600 students.
Other striked were reported in Seattle; Columbus, Ohio; Sierra Vista, Ariz.; and other districts in Rhode Island, Illinois, and Ohio. The teachers' union in New York City has threatened to call a strike in two weeks.