UPDATE 9/13/2015 5:45 PM: There will be no school on Monday. The district and the union representing Seattle’s public school teachers announced Sunday that the two sides have reached agreements on several issues but remain divided over salary.
“The district and SEA have come to agreement on many issues, including testing, recess time and strategies for closing the opportunity gap,” the district’s latest statement on the negotiations reads. “However, there are some points which both sides continue to work toward agreement, including teacher and professional salary.”
The district has posted documentation of its offers here.
The union has reportedly revised its demand for an 18% raise in the portion of salaries paid by the district over three years. The latest numbers from the teachers are for a two-year deal with a 4.7% raise in year one and 5% in year two.
Meanwhile, another schools labor issue in the state appears to have been resolved in Pasco where there is reportedly a tentative deal in place. A judge imposed fines against the Pasco Association of Educators and union representatives and earlier had ruled that the strike in the Eastern Washington city was illegal. The Seattle School Board voted earlier to authorize taking the union here to court but officials have said so far there are no plans to do so.
Original report: There were positive indications of progress over the weekend as negotiations resumed to end Seattle’s first teachers strike since 1985.
In an email sent to media Saturday afternoon, Seattle Public Schools said the district had presented a new offer with “added funds” with plans to continue talks with union representatives from the Seattle Education Association on Sunday:
The SPS and SEA bargaining teams resumed negotiations today.
The district presented a new offer today that added funds specifically designed to address the 20 minute addition in the student day (grades K-12).
Negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow.
The district continues to be ready to continue bargaining so that school can begin for our 53,000 students. The district will provide updates as they become available.
“Negotiations will continue on Sunday,” read a brief update posted by SEA Saturday night along with a call to supporters to “click here” to email the Seattle School Board.
The more positive — if brief! — positioning from both sides follows a Friday dedicated to public service not pickets and two days without formal negotiations as both side reportedly worked through mediators to bridge the gap in salary proposals and address the union’s demands around recess, staffing, and testing.
Sunday will bring a concert in support of Seattle educators to the Neptune Theater:
Thanks to STG and Neptune Theater for donating the space and staffing the event. Because of this generous donation we will be able to give all money collected to the union’s fund for teachers who are having trouble making it without any income while they strike.
Suggested donation at the door is $5 to $5 billion dollars, if you’d like to solve the state’s education funding woes.
If the strike continues Monday, it will mark the fourth day Seattle schoolchildren have gone without class since the scheduled start of the school year. SPS has said it plans to extend the school year to meet required education standards. In the meantime, Seattle Parks community centers will expand their efforts to support day camps from 600 up to 3,000 students beginning Monday. There are 53,000 students in Seattle’s public schools.
UPDATE 9/14/2015 3:10 PM: District officials says they are studying a “new idea” presented by the teachers union “late Sunday night” but that there will be no school again on Tuesday, the fifth day of the strike.
A SPS spokesperson said she could not yet provide specifics of the union’s latest offer. On Sunday, the Seattle Education Association said it had offered a two-year deal with a 4.7% raise in year one and 5% in year two.
The district also announced that the strike’s duration will mean new school days will need to be scheduled at some point once educators return to work. The first three days of the strike were covered by planned snow days but subsequent days will need to be made up either on weekends or by shortening the midwinter break, the spokesperson said.
According to the district spokesperson, schools may not be prepared to open immediately once an agreement is reached.
The district spokesperson said she was reluctant to call the ideas proposals because the plans being exchanged most recently are not formally binding.
“Everybody is in a holding pattern,” the spokesperson said Monday.