SCHOOL STRIKE OFFICIALLY OVER: Seattle Education Association members vote to accept contract

7:29 PM: From the Seattle Education Association meeting downtown: Members have voted to accept the contract.

The vote was conducted by ballot, five days after negotiators for the union and Seattle Public Schools announced a tentative agreement last Tuesday morning. We published toplines in our coverage of union leaders’ Tuesday afternoon decision to suspend the strike; they’re also linked from this page on the union website.

8:10 PM: The union hasn’t released percentages/numbers, but some educators’ tweets indicate it was a sizable margin of approval. Separate from the contract, some loose ends left from the weeklong strike are yet to be worked out, such as how the six missed school days will be made up, and how key year-end dates, such as graduations, will be affected. We’ll be checking with the district to see if they have an estimate on how long it’ll be until those details are worked out.

8:55 PM: The union’s news release just arrived:

Members of the Seattle Education Association have overwhelmingly ratified the recently negotiated tentative contract agreement with the Seattle School District.

Teachers, paraeducators and office professionals voted on the new contract by secret ballot at an SEA general membership meeting Sunday evening.

“From day one of this bargain, it’s been about putting our students first,” said Michael Tamayo, an elementary teacher and member of the SEA Bargaining Team.

“We got many new things in our contract that will benefit students,” said Shelly Hurley, a special education teacher and member of the SEA Bargaining Team.

The new three-year agreement includes guaranteed recess for students, caseload limits, pay raises, racial equity committees at 30 schools, testing reforms and improvements in how teachers are evaluated. Test scores no longer will be part of teacher evaluations in Seattle.

“Today was a great day for unity in Seattle on behalf of Seattle’s school children. SEA’s members have redefined what it means to advocate for children. We have powerful, unified, resolute members who will take their passion for doing what is right for children to Olympia,” said Jonathan Knapp, SEA president.

SEA members were on strike for seven days, from Sept. 9 to Sept. 15. Teachers in Kelso are currently on strike, and teachers in Pasco and South Whidbey went on strike earlier this month but have since settled their contracts.

7 Replies to "SCHOOL STRIKE OFFICIALLY OVER: Seattle Education Association members vote to accept contract"

  • Mike September 20, 2015 (7:54 pm)

    Yay! We can all go to work now.

  • alkimom September 20, 2015 (8:54 pm)

    So happy!

  • A WS teacher September 20, 2015 (9:00 pm)

    96% of Saeops, 87% of Parapros, and 83% of Certificated Teachers voted to approve the contract. Thank goodness it was approved. There is a lot to like about this contract. We will never get everything we asked for, but we sure got a lot of our wish list. Teachers could definitely use a bigger raise, but that was not the only thing that was important in these negotiations.

  • WS Teacher September 20, 2015 (9:36 pm)

    We’re certainly happy to be back at work. Now the legislature needs to get to work on a model for funding schools that is equitable and sustainable. If you’re someone who was inconvenienced, annoyed, or otherwise affected by the strike, please redirect your energy to the root causes by contacting the folks in Olympia. We don’t want the same fight over state budget scraps to take place 3 years from now. It’s time for the state to fulfill its paramount duty.

  • Mike September 21, 2015 (8:06 am)

    WS Teacher, I agree. There needs to be a new law that requires contracts to be signed by end of the school year for the next school year. Hold district and union leadership accountable for their lack of action and political grandstanding. Legislation needs to uphold the laws we have and put stricter laws in place to prevent this again. Teachers have a vital position in society, but we cannot afford to have a strike again. It’s not an ‘inconvenience’ it’s destroying jobs for those outside the school system. Not everyone has the liberty to just leave work.

  • S September 21, 2015 (4:54 pm)

    What’s this BS about a two hour early dismissal this Wednesday. They strike and then want early dismissal even before a week of school has happend. SPS is a joke and can’t wait for the next 16 years I get to deal with them.

    • WSB September 21, 2015 (5:21 pm)

      S, the early-dismissal day was on the calendar before the school year, and aside from the make-up day plan that hasn’t been announced yet, they’re proceeding with the calendar as it is. While the students get out early on those days, the teachers do not. The handful of early-dismissal days in Seattle is actually paltry compared to some other districts, like Highline Public Schools to the immediate south of us, where there’s early dismissal EVERY Friday (same deal, for the students but not for the teachers) – – haven’t looked at other districts but that stood out to me when we first noticed it last year while summarizing the school schedule for our White Center site – TR

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