Seattle Public Schools Teachers strike vote looming; Both sides state their case
The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) are facing a strike authorization vote by the 6000 teachers represented by the Seattle Education Association with pay, special education and the pandemic as part of the mix of issues. The current contract expires today Aug. 31.
A strike in 2018 was narrowly avoided when the two sides reached an agreement. That disagreement was primarily over pay.
SPS issued a statement yesterday regarding the impending strike:
From Beverly Redmond, Assistant Superintendent for Public Affairs
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is committed to continuing to work with our educator union, Seattle Education Association (SEA) to start school on time next Wednesday, Sept. 7. The bargaining process began on June 6 and has continued throughout the summer.
The SPS proposals outline a plan that is aligned to our district’s instructional philosophy that puts students first, creates inclusive learning spaces, and provides educators and staff with generous compensation, including professional development, career opportunities and benefits.
We look forward to continuing to bargain in good faith with SEA on a contract that moves us toward providing an equitable education for every student in our care.
To read more about our contract priorities, visit https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/hr/labor-and-employee-relations/collective-bargaining-updates/
SPS also sent a letter to parents (see the full letter here) stating:
Our proposal includes, among many other items:
Salary increases for all our educators
Adding social workers to our high schools and middle schools
Ensuring students who receive special education services can learn in a more inclusive setting, and making sure educators are trained to do so
Providing staff to support students who are multilingual in their schools, based on student need per school
Additional professional development for educators
Maintaining staff levels throughout the year and minimizing disruptions around school and holiday breaks
Being responsible with taxpayer dollars by meeting our current budget realities, given the overall decrease in enrollment, which means a decrease in funding from the state
The teachers union posted a comparison chart that details the areas where they see the district falling short of their needs.
That document is complex and detailed but starts with:
Supports for students in Special Education and Multilingual Education, for students in the schools with highest needs, and for interpretation and translation
Workload, caseload, class sizes and control over our work to prevent educators from burnout
Respectful, competitive pay so that educators can live in the community where we work