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‘Tentative agreement’ in Seattle teachers strike — UPDATE: Over

IMG_6177Seattle Public Schools has called a media briefing “as soon as possible” Tuesday morning following word of a “tentative agreement” as the city’s teachers strike enters its fifth day.

The Seattle Education Association announced the agreement Tuesday morning:

The Seattle Education Association has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Seattle School Board, but the strike will continue until the SEA board and representative assembly review the agreement later today and decide whether to recommend approval to the SEA membership or continue striking.

SEA members should report to their picket locations today beginning at 8:30 am. SEA picket captains will provide more information to SEA members regarding next steps.

District officials said Monday they were studying a “new idea” presented by the teachers union “late Sunday night” but that there was 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.

Representatives for both sides reportedly worked “through the night” into Tuesday morning to reach the deal. “The district and SEA have come to agreement on many issues, including testing, recess time and strategies for closing the opportunity gap,” said over the weekend.

Union members must still vote to approve the agreement.

SPS has posted this timeline of negotiations and this summary or proposal status here.


Proposed SPS SEA
Recess Agreed Agreed
Paraprofessionals and Seattle Association of Educational Office Professionals sub salary schedule Agreed Agreed
Certificated subs Agreed Agreed
Paraprofessionals access to technology
Created a dedicated process for giving paraprofessional staff the ability to check district email during the workday.
Agreed Agreed
Paraprofessionals and Seattle Association of Educational Office Professionals mentors
Provided a process for a paraprofessional or SAEOP to have a mentor if they are having performance issues.
Agreed Agreed
Certificated career ladder Agreed Agreed
Teacher-librarian updates Agreed Agreed
Adding two days of vacation for religious observations Agreed Agreed
Longer time allowed for submitting credit hours
Allows credits earned over the summer to be added to an employees file for possible salary/lane change.
Agreed Agreed
Nondiscrimination rights updated Agreed Agreed
Focused evaluation supporting growth mindset
SEA and SPS will jointly speak to OSPI about making changes to Focus evaluation.
Agreed Agreed
Career and technical education advisors receive additional pay
Adds pay to CTE advisors (3 stipends per high school) for added duties.
Agreed Agreed
Possibility of using two days vacation as sick leave Agreed Agreed
Special Ed Taskforce updated langauge Agreed Agreed
SAEOP workload
Added $2500 to each building budget for SAEOP workload issues.
Agreed Agreed

Items under “continued negotiation” prior to the tentative agreement on the new package are listed here.

The district has said 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. Tuesday, officials said they were working for a possible Thursday start.

Tuesday, a morning ‘March to Support Our Teachers’ from Pioneer Square to SPS’s SoDo headquarters is planned.

UPDATE 5:56 PM: SEA has announced that the strike is over: “The SEA Representative Assembly has voted to end the Seattle Public Schools strike & to recommend ratification of the tentative contract agreement. Details will be emailed to SEA members. General membership and ratification meeting Sunday. Wednesday is a workday for all district employees: certs, paras and SAEOPS”

The district said it plans to hold the first day of school on Thursday.

The union vote on the new contract is scheduled to follow on Sunday.

UPDATE 10:45 PM: Here are the highlights of the contract, according to SEA:

  • Recess: Guaranteed 30 minutes of recess for all elementary students.
  • Reasonable testing: New policies to reduce the over-testing of our students.
  • Professional pay: Base salary increases of 3 percent, 2 percent and 4.5 percent, plus the state COLA of 4.8 percent
  • Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Test scores will no longer be tied to teacher evaluations, plus there is new contract language that supports teachers’ professional growth.
  • Educator workload relief: Additional staff to reduce workloads and provide student services.
  • Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap: Creating race and equity teams at 30 of the district’s schools.
  • The administration’s proposal to lengthen the school day: Teachers will be compensated for additional work.
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