West Seattle schools: Teachers rally during ‘partial furlough’

(Sealth & WSHS photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
Seattle Public Schools teachers are rallying this afternoon to call attention to something you might not have heard about if you don’t have a child in the district: This is a “partial furlough” day for them, to save the budget-strapped district money. Schools let out three hours early as a result. Teachers from schools around the peninsula are demonstrating in the Triangle/Junction area this afternoon, and chose to wear red – “red for ed” – to call attention to the school-funding trouble. Some took group photos before heading out to rally – above, teachers gathered outside Chief Sealth International High School; below, teachers at West Seattle High School:

ADDED 2:02 PM: Teachers at Madison Middle School shared the photo they took:

ADDED 3:40 PM: Teachers at Arbor Heights Elementary shared this one:

ADDED: And, from teachers at Denny International Middle School:

ADDED: Alki Elementary teachers shared their photo, too:

After leaving school, local teachers gathered at multiple corners around Fauntleroy/Alaska, including this one:

The rallying is happening at five other sites around the city, as organized by the teachers’ union, the Seattle Education Association. The State Legislature has to decide the funding issue – more revenue, or more cuts – during the session that’s under way right now.

43 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Teachers rally during 'partial furlough'"

  • Deedee January 24, 2012 (2:34 pm)

    For anyone grumbling about losing 3 measly hours pay to help a financially strapped state and only having to work about 9 months a year for a darn good salary (and benefits) is totally ridiculous and out of line especially if these furlough days help save jobs. Get real people.

  • dbsea January 24, 2012 (2:40 pm)

    Dear Teachers, I’m sure many of us, myself included, would prefer you were able to work a full day too. And that the kids got a full day of school as well.

    I’ll just give mine extra homework tonight, they’ll love it.

  • Ken S. January 24, 2012 (2:53 pm)

    Good for them!

    Yeah, when I realized that the early dismissal today was a furlough and not for ‘professional development’ as many are – it seemed like a bit of a joke. Most of the teachers I know work long hours anyways – well past when the students go home. Giving them one afternoon off without pay may save the district some $$, but I’m sure many of the teachers were still working regardless….

    Anyways – rant over – thanks to those teachers trying to get the state/govt to fund education like they’re supposed to!

  • CEA January 24, 2012 (3:19 pm)

    As the parent of an 8th grade student at Pathfinder, I want to lend my voice to all dedicated teachers out on furlough today. You have my support!

  • pam January 24, 2012 (3:42 pm)

    Wow, another 3 hours of teachers working and not getting paid. I hope that they will take a break but I know most of them won’t. This state is in sad shape and need to step it up and put Education first.

  • rewinn January 24, 2012 (4:04 pm)

    A nation that cuts education, is cutting its own throat. When will we learn?

  • a parent January 24, 2012 (4:16 pm)

    I am not sure how the state thinks this ‘helps everyone’… how many parents had to also take time off work today – unpaid as well – to watch the kids?

    Yea teachers – booo government

  • Uncle Joe January 24, 2012 (4:32 pm)

    A society that doesn’t value its teachers doesn’t value its children. Cuts to education may save a few dollars now but there will be a price to pay down the road. Those who demand cuts to education are either shortsighted or prefer an even more powerless electorate.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident January 24, 2012 (4:36 pm)

    The misnomer is that the State isn’t spending enough on education. That is PLAIN WRONG!!!
    People need to take a look at WHERE the money is being spent…here’s a hint – it’s NOT on teachers salaries. Take a look at the administration cost and how many NON-teachers per teachers there are.
    Spending per student has risen EVERY year, yet most of that is spent on the admin side and not the students/teachers.
    But the teachers need to bear some responsibility also…they pay over $80.00 per month in union dues for what???
    The union does NOTHING to solve the problem of spending in admin costs, in fact they PROMOTE it.
    Here’s a novel idea that will (1) increase the money available, (2) decrease class sizes among others.

  • RG January 24, 2012 (4:42 pm)

    I asked my child’s teacher if she had a plastic bag somewhere I could have, to take home some of the stuff in my kid’s desk. She gave me one. Later that evening I discovered a receipt in the bottom of the bag. She had spent $62 of her own money on supplies for a cool class project that supported what the kids were learning in science. When I gave the receipt back to her she smiled and said, “It was worth every penny because the kids understood the material by doing a special class project and the entire class had lots of fun.” How awesome is that? My kid’s teacher is priceless. I wish teachers were regarded as the heroes they truly are by our government.

  • Ex-Westwood Resident January 24, 2012 (4:45 pm)

    Education HASN’T been cut. The Education budget has INCREASED every year.
    What is being passed off as a cut is instead (for example) of a 10% increase for a given year, the legislature only gives them a 5% increase, yet they announces it as a 5% CUT in the budget.

  • JDD January 24, 2012 (4:48 pm)

    Seattle Public Schools operating spending per pupil 2004-2005: $9,465

    Seattle Public Schools operating spending per pupil 2010-2011 (budgeted): $12,957

    Annual compound growth: 5.4%

    This doesn’t appear to be a cut, rather quite the opposite.

    What dollar amount per pupil is enough?

  • add January 24, 2012 (4:50 pm)

    @RG – who is your child’s teacher? I’d like to give her $62 to cover her expenses. I appreciate true dedication, especially when it comes with a smile. She rocks!

  • bestbets January 24, 2012 (4:52 pm)

    The whole furlough thing is dumb, doesn’t do anything to increase learning and is a cop out way to cut teachers’ salaries. Good for the teachers for spending their “time off” to bring attention to this – let’s hope the state gets back on track soon and starts working towards its paramount duty of educating the children of Washington.

  • Kelly January 24, 2012 (4:57 pm)

    Can we tip the teachers? Maybe if the parents pitched in a little $$ directly to the teachers it would help.

  • M.P. January 24, 2012 (4:57 pm)

    No “child left behind” is not working. Let our teachers teach, pay them what they deserve, and enough with all the tests!

  • Uncle Joe January 24, 2012 (5:01 pm)

    Ex-Westwood, thank you for providing an example of inadequate education.

  • Chris January 24, 2012 (5:21 pm)

    Ex, funny becasue I recently read that the State Supreme Court ruled that the State has continued to fail to meet its constitutional responsibility for education funding.

    And by all means, just “get rid” of all those illegal immigrants. That will solve all our problems.

  • wsea January 24, 2012 (5:25 pm)

    I agree with M.P.

    The MAP test is a waste of time. Students and Parents are asked to spend after hours trying to be better test takers rather than spending more time actually learning. Its not the teachers fault of the our administators, etc…
    Teachers don’t even believe in the MAP test. So I ask, why do we have it?

  • Laura January 24, 2012 (5:28 pm)

    I wish I could “like” your comment Uncle Joe – Thanks! Everyone loses when we choose not to adequately fund education: the staff, the teachers, the parents, the community, and especially the students.

    • WSB January 24, 2012 (5:47 pm)

      Laura – we have the old-fashioned form of “like” here – where you say “Hey! I agree!” :) – as you did … TR (been trying to resist the clutter as long as we can)

  • Cclarue January 24, 2012 (5:34 pm)

    Furloughing class time is BS however you slice it. Good for the teachers!!!I would have stood with them if i didnt have to go to work.

  • smitty January 24, 2012 (5:39 pm)

    Per-student spending? Don’t forget to add in the money for special-ed! The feds give the district an extra $800-$2000 (depending on level of disability) each year for *each* special ed kid, in addition to the regular amount the per student from the state.


    For my fully-mainstreamed special ed kid, the district is given approximately $850 in federal funds a year. For the [only] extra person who works with my kid, several times per week all year, the amount given to our school each year is –brace yourself– $15. Um, precisely where is the other $835? In theory it goes to that person’s salary. Really? Does it?


    I know of cases where districts “double-dip” with the kids. A special ed student is also a vocational student, and the districts get funds from both sources– for a single student. How do the administrators get away with this? And where does the money go?


    Grr, it really hacks the shorts of this former teacher.

    Can you say AUDIT?

  • Deedee January 24, 2012 (5:44 pm)

    Dear add- you don’t have to pay back the teacher who spent $62 on education stuff because the IRS allows teachers to deduct up to $250 a year off their taxes for this kind of stuff – and believe me they all know (or should know) about these deductions.

  • visitor January 24, 2012 (5:57 pm)

    Uncle Joe +++++ And Deedee, even though they can deduct up to $250, doesn’t mean they are reimbursed the full value of any money they shouldn’t have to pay out of their own pockets!

  • Parent January 24, 2012 (7:50 pm)

    Cut the fat at the district, who despite large numbers do very poor work. Audit the district spending. Put in place and incenetive that makes districts accountable. GGuaranteed $ = lazy. Pay GOOD teachers more and get rid of the teachers who are not meeting standards – I don’t care how long they’ve been there – if your not cutting it, your out.

    Jobs need to be competative inorder to produce results. Un-ended guaranteed contracts are ridiculous. My daughter’s teacher was a joke last year – lucky we have a wonderful teacher this year. This teacher embodies everthing that is great about education and what it should be.

    We as Parents and a community should not settle for mediocrity from the state, district or our teachers.

  • Cclarue January 24, 2012 (8:05 pm)

    I saw a book titled “If they haven’t learned I haven’t taught” at a teachers home!!

  • Deedee January 24, 2012 (8:24 pm)

    Visitor – you are right on both counts!

  • boy January 24, 2012 (8:36 pm)

    It is funny how a coule of years ago public school enrollment was down almost 40% from 10 years ago. But the public schools administration never changed. Seattle public schools are way to top heavy. We now have what 1 school employe for every 5 kids.

  • Mr.Teach January 24, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    As a elementary teacher, I do appreciate the tax credit each year. The $250 credit really goes far in off-setting the several thousands of dollars I spend on school supplies, books, art materials, field-trip shortages, snacks for kids who are hungry, and enrichment/tutoring opportunities to bring equity to all my students. (Incidentally, many of my “needier” students are not illegal immigrants and I am, in no way, a classroom spend-thrift or out of step with most of my collegues) I am not bitter, it is a part of the cost of being a teacher. Still, I appreciate the wide support voiced here on WSB

  • add January 24, 2012 (9:11 pm)

    @Visitor .. right on both points. And “deducting” it just means that you save about 30% of the expense on your tax bill, not that you get reimbursed.

  • Dano January 24, 2012 (10:03 pm)

    I’m a SPS teacher…… I appreciate the $250 deduction…. It helps toward the $3800 I spent last year on my students….. And it helped the year before, when I spent $4015.

  • add January 24, 2012 (10:09 pm)

    I stand corrected, I didn’t realize it was an outright tax credit, not a deduction. But I would still like to thank RG’s kid’s teacher and help her out. Because the $250 is probably a drop in the bucket.

    And – it is OUTRAGEOUS that dedicated teachers should have to spend any of their own money on some of the basics for student education (per Mr. Teach’s comments above). At my kids’ school, the PTSA allocates a certain dollar amount as Classroom Funds for each and every teacher every year to help defray all of that… I’m sure it doesn’t cover all expenses but hopefully it helps.

  • biff711 January 25, 2012 (2:51 am)

    While education has merits beyond economics, at least someone has finally discovered that the economic contributions teachers make to student’s incomes is trivial.

    From the Prez SOTU Speech last night

    “At a time when other countries are doubling down on education, tight budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers,” Obama said Tuesday night.

    “We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.”

    Most teachers work tirelessly, with modest pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies — just to make a difference.”

    With the U.S. Department of Education estimating that 25 students sit in the average American public school classroom, that “lifetime earning” comes out to $10,000 per child.

    A high school graduate, at age 18, can expect to be in the workforce for 47 years, when he or she turns 65 — stretching that $10,000 benefit to $212.76 per year.

    And assuming an average work-year of 2,000 hours, that $250,000 amounts to 85 cents per day, or just north of 10 cents per hour.

    SOURCE: thedailycaller.com

  • happy January 25, 2012 (8:06 am)

    We should furlough the top-heavy administration.

  • bsmomma January 25, 2012 (1:40 pm)

    Having a child in kindergarten at a public school I have to pay $237/mo. This is a fairly new thing. Plus I had to buy over $100 in school supplies for the whole class. Plus there is always a “wish” list of things needed for the classroom. The PTA raises a ton of money for the school! How is it that SPS are so much worst off now? I’d like to see where all the districts money goes with receipts!!

  • Uncle Joe January 25, 2012 (1:48 pm)

    Just so we know what source were hearing from, the Daily Caller was founded by conservative journalist Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, a former adviser to Dick Cheney. Carlson has described it as “the Right’s answer to the Huffington Post”.

  • readerrabbit January 26, 2012 (11:23 am)

    The state constitution requires for the ample education of children residing withing its borders without preference or account as to race, color, caste, or sex. No citizenship status stipulated or required. It would, therefore, be illegal to NOT allow admission into a public school in the state on the basis of citizenship status. They simply need to live here. Choose a different scapegoat.

  • greenthum January 28, 2012 (11:14 pm)

    Teachers unite! End the madness! Say goodbye to your dysfunctional union and make Washington a Right to Work state. It’s the only way to bring sanity back into our educational system.

  • Krisztoff66 January 29, 2012 (11:22 am)

    Anybody who thinks that teachers only work nine months out of the year is terribly out of touch with the realities of modern credentialing requirements. Most teachers are required to take courses to keep their credentials current. Deedee’s initial point is a clumsy attempt to suggest that teachers have nothing to grumble about because they have it easy. One more thing: the purpose of the protest was to point out that furloughs are bad for kids. Which they are.

  • Jennifer January 30, 2012 (12:03 pm)

    For greenthum:

    “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.” —Martin Luther King

  • holly homan January 30, 2012 (1:01 pm)

    I have worked as a speciale d assistant for fourteen years in Seattle Schools. Though I have a K-8 teaching cert and a masters in special ed, the district will not hire me to be a teacher. I also have not seen a raise in over a decade and have no had to obtain a second job to help stretch my $34,000 a year. Our money is spent by people who have no idea what needs our students have because they do not work directly with the students. They are totally disconnected to what our needs are. For instance, when one special ed class asked for a sink in their classroom when the new wing was built, they were told it would stigmatize the students to have a sink. They have acooking class and must go down the hall to where a classroom that has a sink is. I work with students who are incontinent. I have asked for a bathroom to be built that is attached to uor classroom. I’ve been told that too would be stigmatizing. So I have to take my student to the public bathroom to change her and try to hide her diaper under my clothing to be discreet. That’s stigmatizing. It also shows the disconnect of those holding the purse strings.
    I write for a local blog and attended one of the picketing events before heading off to my second job. Here is the link I wrote and too pictures too.

  • private school mom January 30, 2012 (4:06 pm)

    Listening to all of this and watching the public schools contiue to produce poor outcomes..I am happy made a choice for private education for my daughter K-12. Was a SIGNIFICANT financial hardship but the best investment made…now at Stanford..

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