The Seattle teachers union and the school district have reached a tentative agreement on a new two-year contract. The union will vote on the agreement today, on the eve of the first scheduled day of school. Marcie Sillman talks with Ballard high school teacher, Noam Gundle and Chris Eide, executive director of independent teachers group Teachers United, to get their perspectives on the agreement.
Sillman also spoke with KUOW reporter Ann Dornfeld who explained the main issues surfacing in the contract negotiations.
Correction 8/27/13: In a previous version, the length of the district's contract offer was stated as three years. The current offer is for a two-year contract. The length of the contract is negotiable.
Seattle's teachers' union voted down the school district's two-year contract offer Monday night at Seattle Education Association's general membership meeting at Benaroya Hall.
Reporters were not allowed inside the meeting, but teachers said that the voice vote was nearly unanimous, with only several teachers of the hundreds present supporting the contract offer.
In a letter to the community Friday evening, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda outlined key elements of the district's latest contract offer, including a four percent pay increase over two years, hiring extra support staff including school psychologists, nurses, speech pathologists, and occupational and physical therapists, and improvements to the special education delivery model.
School doesn't start for two weeks, but it was standing room only at the Seattle School Board meeting Wednesday night as hundreds of community members turned out for a host of issues they want settled before school begins.
Class size appears to be the main sticking point between Seattle School District and its teachers’ union as they bargain a new, three-year contract before school is scheduled to start next month.
Seattle Education Association President Jonathan Knapp says the district’s latest proposal, made last week, would increase class sizes in Seattle by two students per class in grades four through twelve.