(UPDATED 3:11 PM with district tweet)
5:04 AM: Contract talks continued on Labor Day between Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association – but instead of points of progress, this time around, the biggest news is the district’s announcement of a special board meeting tonight, seeking authority to go to court if there’s a strike. Here’s the action item on that meeting’s agenda:
(Read it here if you can’t see the embedded version above.) SEA members voted last Thursday night to strike tomorrow if there’s no contract deal; there was word of some progress over the holiday weekend, including agreeing on 30 minutes of guaranteed recess (the union had previously sought 45 minutes) and issues relating to substitute teachers, but no word of progress on Monday. Tonight’s special board meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 pm at district HQ in SODO (3rd S. & S. Lander), with a closed-door “executive session” up first, followed by the aforementioned resolution to be considered in open session thereafter.
9:57 AM: The union has just posted an update – see it here. From that update:
The SEA Bargaining Team continues to bargain in good faith – last night the team proposed a two-year contract and proposed creating a work group to study the possible merits and feasibility of extending the school day.
While we moved closer on some issues through the course of Monday’s bargaining, including on evaluations, the school board’s 11 pm package proposal still insisted on a 30-minute longer school day without a commitment to pay for that time. The district administration’s wage proposal barely budged from previous offers: 2 percent this year, 3.2 percent next year, and 3.75 percent the following year, when certificated staff would begin working 30 minutes longer. The SEA pay proposal is 6 percent a year.
We don’t have a tentative agreement, and our strike deadline is almost here.
As we’ve said all along, we’re dedicated to negotiating a fair contract and starting school on time, but the school board and district administration must recognize that educators need to be part of the decision making about what is best for students.
Our team is willing to meet with district bargainers today, but only if there’s a sense that continuing to meet would be productive.
12:13 PM UPDATE: Just received from district spokesperson Stacy Howard via e-mail:
We wanted to provide a very brief update, a more official detailed will be likely be provided later.
· SPS has offered $62 million as a counter to the $172 million worth of asks of SEA
o Significant staff increases for special education
o Wage increases
o 30 minutes of additional student instructional time in year 3
· We gave that proposal just before midnight last night and are awaiting a response from SEA
· SPS bargaining team continues to be ready and available to meet
· We ask that families please have a contingency plan in place for childcare, in case school does not start tomorrow
· We are asking the media to help us in reaching out to some of our communities where English is a second language, for preparations.
We will continue updating this story until either late afternoon or a major development, whichever comes first, at which time we’ll start a new story and will add the link here so people know where to find it. We’re keeping this linked at the top of our sidebar (“BIG STORIES”) for easy finding, in the meantime.
3:11 PM: Neither side has yet ruled out the possibility that school COULD still start tomorrow as scheduled. The latest update is this district tweet from minutes ago:
SPS has received a counter offer from @seattleea and is currently considering it.
— Seattle Schools (@seapubschools) September 8, 2015
No details of the counter-offer yet.