Topic: teacher contract
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September 3, 2013 at 3:23 PM
UPDATE: 10 p.m. | Snoqualmie Valley teachers voted tonight to start school tomorrow under the terms of the old contract and continue talks this week to hammer out a a new contract, district spokeswoman Carolyn Malcolm said.
Another discussion is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, in which the teachers union will consider a new proposal by the district on compensation and class sizes, the two most hotly contested issues, Malcolm said.
The offer includes a 1 percent salary increase in the first year, another 1 percent increase in the second year and a 2 percent increase in the third year, Malcolm said. The district’s proposal also limits elementary class sizes, she said, and includes additional compensation for teachers whose classes exceed maximum size limits, which vary by grade.
UPDATE: 7:25 p.m. | Bad news, Snoqualmie Valley students: There’s school tomorrow.
The district and its teachers union have agreed to extend negotiations over a new contract until next weekend to allow school to start Wednesday as scheduled, according to a district spokeswoman.
ORIGINAL POST: Seattle teachers aren’t the only ones without a contract in place for the upcoming school year.
The Washington Education Association reports that educators in Snoqualmie Valley School District also have not reached an agreement with their school district, and are scheduled to meet this afternoon to discuss what to do. As in Seattle, options include a strike, or working without a contract while negotiations continue.
The unresolved issues include class size and pay increases.
September 3, 2013 at 1:55 PM
Seattle teachers will vote tonight on whether to accept a proposed contract for the next two years, an agreement that appears to reach some middle ground on pay raises, would increase the length of elementary teachers’ workday, and would keep test scores a part of how teachers’ job performance is evaluated.
The agreement was reached very early Sunday by negotiators for Seattle Public Schools and the city’s teachers’ union. Both groups are recommending that teachers approve the contract, although a vote Monday in the union’s representative assembly was very close — 48 for ratification of the proposal, and 47 against. According to some teachers who were there, Union President Jonathan Knapp cast the 48th vote in favor.
The district and the union aren’t publicly talking about the proposal until after tonight’s vote, but some of the details are leaking out, given that the union has provided copies to its 5,000 members, of which roughly 3,000 are teachers. (Someone also provided links on the union’s Facebook page, see links here and here.)
Under the proposal, teachers would get a 2 percent raise for the 2013-14 school year, and then 2.5 percent for 2014-15. The district had earlier proposed 2 percent for both years; the union reportedly wanted 2.5 percent. Teachers also would get an additional 1.3 percent raise because earlier this year, state legislators ended furlough days for state employees.
The proposed agreement also calls for the required workday for elementary school teachers to increase by 30 minutes, but starting in fall 2014, not this school year. The additional time would be used for planning and collaboration, as the district wanted. The union had proposed increasing students’ school day by 30 minutes as well, restoring a half hour of art, music and P.E. classes that were discontinued years ago.
The district also would continue to use state test scores in evaluating teachers, not as part of a teacher’s formal job performance review, but as an indicator of whether a teacher’s performance needs a closer look. The union had wanted to suspend the use of test scores in teacher evaluation for two years as the district and the union jointly worked on a new teacher evaluation system, required under a new state law. Under the proposed agreement, the district would continue to use its old system and develop the new one.
The agreement also includes a new system for special education in Seattle, which both sides hope will bring improvement to services that have drawn considerable criticism from parents and the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. That is one of the big changes in the proposal that hasn’t received much attention, because both sides agreed on it early in the negotiations.
Given the split vote Monday in the union’s representative assembly, some teachers say tonight’s vote may be close as well, and likely will lead to some tough discussions.
“It’s good for our solidarity to be united and we’re not united,” said Noam Gundle, a science teacher at Ballard High.
August 30, 2013 at 6:26 PM
The negotiation teams for Seattle Public Schools and the city’s teachers union met until midnight Thursday and continued talking all day Friday, but it’s not clear whether they’re closer to reaching an agreement that would pave the way for school to start as planned next Wednesday.
Union members met Friday for strike training, saying they want to be prepared for whatever happens.
“When you don’t know what’s going to happen, you have to do everything,” said Seattle Education Association President Jonathan Knapp.
District spokeswoman Teresa Wippel said the two sides still hold some strong positions, but negotiators are trying to figure out something both can accept.
Negotiations in the South Kitsap School District also continued Friday without resolution, and teachers there have voted to strike if no agreement is reached Saturday, the day their contract expires.
UPDATE: 8:13 p.m. | The South Kitsap School District announced in a news release Friday evening that it had come to a tentative agreement with the teachers union.
Seattle teachers have not taken a strike vote. The union has scheduled a general membership meeting for Tuesday afternoon, when they could vote on a tentative agreement, if one is reached, or decide what to do if they don’t have one. One option is to work without a contract. Another is to strike.
In the meantime, city officials announced Friday that 20 community centers will provide free activities for low-income children if a strike occurs. But they also warned that space is limited.
Mayor Mike McGinn urged the two sides to come to an agreement.
Here’s a news release from the city with all the information about registering for the community center programs: http://alerts.seattle.gov/2013/08/30/city-to-provide-free-drop-in-activities-at-community-centers-for-some-public-school-students-in-event-of-school-strike/
August 27, 2013 at 6:38 PM
Seattle Public Schools has notified families to prepare for a possible strike by Seattle teachers.
School district officials emailed and called parents Tuesday, saying that the district and teachers still have not reached an agreement on a new teachers contract. In a vote Monday, teachers rejected the district’s latest contract offer.
District officials said nothing new had happened since Monday’s vote, but they felt they needed to warn parents of the possibility of a strike, and to let them know they are working to help families with child care if school doesn’t start on time.
The teachers’ existing contact expires Saturday. The union has not yet scheduled a strike vote but has not ruled one out, either.
Officials encouraged parents to develop back-up plans and let them know that the school district is working with child care providers and the city to offer child-care options if a strike occurs. They said they will post information on those options Wednesday on the school district’s website.
The negotiating teams from both sides met all day today and are scheduled to be back at the table tomorrow. The union has scheduled another meeting on Sept. 3, the day before school is scheduled to begin.
The two sides are at odds over the use of test scores in evaluating teachers, whether to add 30 minutes to the workday of elementary-school teachers and whether to limit case-loads for school employees such as therapists, psychologists and nurses.
The last time Seattle teachers walked off the job was in 1991, as part of a statewide teacher protest.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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