At 6:55 a.m. last Friday, wearing a red backpack and holding an apple fritter, 11-year-old Arlo Jackson trudged out the door to Mercer Middle School.
"The cold air kinda wakes you up," Arlo said as he walked to his first stop, his friend Nico Binuya’s house. After Nico got a kiss from his mom, the two friends were on their way, chatting about “school, sports and, like, girls.”
Seattle school board candidate Suzanne Dale Estey and her supporters are poised to raise more money than any other school board candidate in state history – even though a Washington state law passed last year put a cap on campaign contributions in school board races.
It’s been one week since the first day of school, and to say that the start was rocky would be an understatement. A highly contested teacher contract debate had parents worried whether schools would even begin on time last Wednesday. When school did open, software problems caused confusion all over the Seattle district. With all this news, it promises to be an exciting year. Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Superintendent José Banda about the first week and what’s on tap for the school year.
About 1,800 teachers cast their votes in the Seattle Education Association general membership meeting at Benaroya Hall. Members voted first by voice, then by standing to clarify the count. One member moved to call for a ballot count, but there wasn't enough support from fellow members. Teachers present estimated that at least 60 percent of the votes were in favor of the contract.
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.
According to a letter KUOW has obtained from Seattle Public Schools to the Washington State Auditor’s Office, the district faces $29 million in claims and settlement demands from current or former students who say they were sexually abused by a teacher or fellow student.