SEA did not respond to a request for comment.
(The Center Square) – With the current contract between Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association expiring Wednesday, the union approved a strike authorization.
The union’s board of directors voted to authorize the strike on Tuesday. Teachers can now vote on a potential strike this weekend as school is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
Wednesday morning, teachers held signs outside various school buildings calling for a contract that “meets student needs,” according to SEA.
The teachers union is looking for a contract that specifically ensures support and no cuts for special and multilingual education; creates accountability around reasonable workload, caseloads and class sizes; and increases teacher salary, according to the union’s website.
About 40% of the district’s 3,227 full-time teachers made $100,000 or more in 2020-21. That is the most recent school year dataset that is publicly available.
For the contract that expires Wednesday, the top base salary in the union contract pay scale for a Seattle teacher is $123,506. That teacher would have worked for the district for 15 years and have a PhD. Teachers can break $100,000 salary as early as their eighth year, according to the union contract. Their base contract is for 180 days of work.
The district’s latest proposal includes salary increases for educators; ensuring that special needs students can learn in a more inclusive setting; providing staff to multilingual students; additional professional development for educators; maintaining staff levels throughout the year; and meeting current budget realities as overall enrollment decreases, which means a decrease in funding from the state, according to SPS.
“It remains our goal to start school on time next Wednesday, as we know it is best for students to return to class and not have to make up any school days at the end of the school year,” SPS said in a statement.
The proposals SPS has shared with the teachers union in regards to special and multilingual education are based on recommendations from joint SEA and SPS committees that included teachers, instructional assistants, administrators, district staff and family representatives, according to the district.
SEA plans to have a general membership meeting Wednesday as the union continues to meet with SPS in establishing a new contract.