SCHOOL STRIKE UPDATES: No school on Monday; negotiations continued late Sunday night, ‘likely to continue’ Monday

(SCROLL DOWN for newest updates)

3 PM: We’re at Seattle Public Schools headquarters in SODO, where district spokesperson Stacy Howard is briefing media – fourth time in five days they’ve held a mid-afternoon briefing.

Both sides confirmed they were negotiating today, but that’s all we’ve heard until now. “The district presented an offer to pay teachers for added instructional minutes,” Howard says, adding, “no time will be added to the instructional day.” She says ****no school on Monday****, though negotiations are still under way. She says the district is now to the place where they’ve run out of the three “snow days” that can be used to make up for the lost days, so they’ll have to be looking at other ways to get to the 180 state-mandated days – maybe looking at what’s scheduled as a full-week mid-winter break this year, for example. Still too soon to say how this might affect graduation dates, according to Howard.

As for what the district is currently proposing, “It’s not what we would like, but what we can afford.” We asked if they could characterize the talks as having made progress; Howard wouldn’t or couldn’t say. The briefing is over after 10 minutes (we recorded it on video as usual and will add that here when it’s uploaded *4:48 pm, it’s up). We’ll update this story if and when there are any other strike-related developments today.

5:13 PM: The union announced a 5 pm media briefing at the Neptune Theater in the U-District, where a concert is being held tonight to benefit striking educators; we didn’t see the announcement in time to get there, but tuned into the KIRO-TV stream in which a union member was telling them they didn’t have anything to say but were awaiting the bargaining team’s arrival.

6:07 PM: The union has just announced by text and tweet that its “Bargaining Team gave the Seattle School Board bargainers a new proposal today: Two-year contract, raises of 4.75% and 5%.” [added] Also, the SEA briefing that finally happened at the Neptune is viewable via Periscope video recorded by KING 5 reporter John Langelergo here. The first speaker was SEA president Jonathan Knapp, who said it is the board and superintendent’s fault the teachers walked out, because they are not “offering a fair contract.” Lead bargainer Phyllis Campano, SEA vice president (and a former Pathfinder K-8 teacher), said the negotiations were still ongoing at the time of this briefing and that she was headed back immediately afterward. Campano said they have still not come to an agreement on issues she listed as “pay, fair evaluations, reasonable testing, student equity, lengthening the school day.”

6:43 PM: Thanks to the tipster who shared word of tomorrow’s plan: Individual school picketing in the morning, then gathering at “zone” locations in the afternoon. On the Fairmount Park Elementary PTA website, this link says that means FPE teachers will picket outside the school 8:30 am-noon, then joining other schools from their “zone” at West Seattle High School 1-3 pm. Still trying to find out what’s happening at other local schools – any info, please comment or e-mail us ( – thank you.

8:51 PM: HPN in comments says what we suspected – the two “zone” locations for afternoon picketing in WS tomorrow will be WSHS and Chief Sealth IHS.

10:10 PM: Amanda in comments says Roxhill is planning to picket at its school all day, rather than going to join the “zone.” Meantime, a Madison MS teacher tells us via e-mail, “We’re picketing at Madison in the morning, then in the afternoon we’re walking over to West Seattle High School for demonstrations there.”

ADDED MONDAY MORNING: Most recent update we can find says negotiations were still under way as of 10:15 last night.

9:15 AM MONDAY: Just texted by SEA, “Negotiations are likely to continue today. No TA yet.” We will launch a new story later today but for now we’re updating this one.

12:20 PM: New update from the union – negotiations “will resume this afternoon.” And the district is again having what’s becoming its daily 3 pm briefing.

122 Replies to "SCHOOL STRIKE UPDATES: No school on Monday; negotiations continued late Sunday night, 'likely to continue' Monday"

  • Worst September 13, 2015 (3:20 pm)

    That was the worst press conference I’ve ever seen. She didn’t know anything.

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (3:29 pm)

      These have primarily been held so there’s a soundbite for TV people working on 5 pm newscast stories. However, they also serve as the first source of official information (and I still wish the union would have briefings too), however scant, so we’ve continued to go downtown for them. – TR

  • Manolita September 13, 2015 (3:30 pm)

    Thank you Tracy for the prompt update.

  • mypatience1978 September 13, 2015 (3:33 pm)

    Does anybody know if the school district is going to extend the Sept 30th deadline for the wait list and transfers? I tried all day Thurs and Fri to get through to enrollment only to have my phone call looped back through. Not once when I was next in line did someone pick up the phone. I have left two messages and sent two emails and still have not been contacted. I really don’t understand how parents are suppose to work and also be able to get ahold of enrollment especially when it is something very important to a child’s schooling.

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (3:38 pm)

      Mypatience – I’ll send that question to Stacy. Have you looked at the FAQ on the district site? I can’t get the link right now but follow the trail from the negotiations update linked at for starters

  • Deshawn Jaxkson September 13, 2015 (3:35 pm)

    I can’t believe they would do this to our kids! It’s so stupid that they’re the ones getting more money when I’m the one about to get fired for trying to find a babysitter for my kid or staying home to do it myself! Unbelievable!

  • cindy September 13, 2015 (3:36 pm)

    Thank you WS Blog for ALWAYS being THE GO TO source for news.

  • Worst September 13, 2015 (4:32 pm)

    Stacy won’t know the answer to your question. Don’t bother.

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (4:37 pm)

      “Don’t bother” isn’t in our playbook. We’ve already sent it. There’s also, on the “negotiation info” page, a number that the district claims you can use to leave a message and get an answer. Might be worth Patience trying that one too just to see

  • michelle September 13, 2015 (5:43 pm)

    I for one appreciate a daily media briefing from someone so I know if there will be school or not so I can plan accordingly. I really appreciate the WSB coverage. WORST- I don’t think it’s fair to attack the SPS spokesperson personally.

  • Mike September 13, 2015 (6:00 pm)

    WSB, thank you for your hard work.

  • WestParent September 13, 2015 (6:09 pm)

    I feel for the school district. They are doing their best to protect and educate the kids. They are often villainized by backers of the teachers union, a group organized to protect its members interests. They also are not getting the support of the legislature. Rock meet hard place.

  • soi September 13, 2015 (6:12 pm)

    On the save Seattle schools site, it mentioned planned rally on Tuesday. Does anybody here know anything about that? Does this mean no school Tuesday too? We are weighing if it’s worth my mom’s time to drive out and pick the kids up and take them over to eastern Washington for the week. It sounds like this strike will continue for a while?

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (6:36 pm)

      Soi, it does not mean no school on Tuesday. It means it’s being planned IF there is no school. And we had mentioned it yesterday afternoon in this story: … As of about an hour ago, negotiations were still under way. But Tuesday is the earliest school would resume, even if a deal was reached tonight. I’m listening to the SEA briefing via Periscope video (link added above) and a district bargainer said a lot of issues remain unresolved. So they don’t seem to be on the BRINK of a deal at this point … TR

  • Worst September 13, 2015 (6:36 pm)

    Michelle. I was not attacking personally. I was just stating the obvious. She did not answer very many questions.

  • East Coast Cynic September 13, 2015 (6:49 pm)

    @WestParent, if the legislature doesn’t do its duty of properly funding public education, including paying educational professionals the money they deserve for their specialized, difficult and necessary job, there won’t be a school year.

    Son of a Special Education Public School Teacher.
    No kids.

  • Pau Fischburg September 13, 2015 (6:59 pm)

    Sorry for this REALLY LONG Post but the details NEED to get out:

    My heart sunk this afternoon as I listened to Seattle Public Schools again blame teachers for the lack of agreement on a new contract. I was so hoping to get back to school that I had decided to give my detailerizer a rest. But then I got word of the District’s press conference.

    The School District has set up a web page that has a bunch of their latest proposals you can read yourselves. Many of them are in challenging legalese. And there are a lot of them so it becomes clear that the two sides are very far from agreement. This can easily be seen as a false attempt at transparency. The District has a column for SEA proposals but does not keep that up to date so it looks like the District is proposing away without the Teacher’s union bargaining. It also makes it look like negotiations are happening on each point separately but what they don’t tell you is that their proposals are linked – their compensation proposal, for example, is linked to their proposal on the extended work day. For those of you who like the details, read on. I’m about to re-engage the detailerizer.

    Let me start with compensation, since the media and the District insist on fixating there and a huge amount of misinformation continues to circulate.

    Throughout the negotiations, the teacher’s union has continued to compromise on salary: beginning with a proposed 7% raise on Total Salary per year for three years; to 6% for three years; to 5% in the first year and 5.5% in the second year; to its most recent proposal of a 4.75% raise in the 2015-16 school year and 5.0% in the 2016-17 school year. The District does not include these proposal revisions on their website, it says only “No response to SPS counter.” That is a total lie. Unless they want to say, “well, we just haven’t updated our website.”

    Meanwhile, the District has not budged. Here’s the wording of the proposal on their website verbatim:

    “Effective September 1, 2015, the TRI increase for the 2015-2016 school year will be an across the board amount of 2.0 percent. This is calculated by adding 2.0 percent of the 2015-2016 regular salary schedule base salary (BA only/Step 1) to the corresponding cell of TRI Responsibility Contract schedule. This new amount will then be applied to the TRI index found in Appendix B to generate the 2015-2016 TRI Salary Schedule…”

    This same paragraph is repeated with 3.2% in 2016-17 and 3.75% in 2017-18.

    Let me break that down for you. It means that salaries would increase by 2.0% of the base salary. This is not a 2% raise. It’s 2% of base salary: a 1.45% raise this year. 6.52% over their proposed three-year contract period.

    Let’s move on to the extended day. Here are a few verbatim excerpts from the District’s proposed Memorandum of Understanding that the SEA has rejected.
    • “…in the 2017-¬‐18 school year, 20 minutes of K-¬‐12 instructional time will be added to the student instructional day. No time will be added to the teacher work-day.”

    • “… collaborative and/or common planning time will be incorporated into the teacher workday beginning in 2017—18.”

    • “…the parties will enter into interest-¬‐based bargaining no less than twice monthly to determine how the 20 minutes of K—12 instructional time and early release/late arrival time will be apportioned at elementary, secondary and K—8 schools in 2017—18.”

    These three excerpts show how ridiculous the District’s proposal is. First of all, you cannot add 20 minutes to instructional time without extending the teacher work-day. It’s not physically possible unless you believe that teachers have 20 minute of their current work-day where they’re doing nothing. Second, in the next clause, the District adds “collaborative and/or common planning time” to the teacher workday in addition to the 20 minutes of instructional time! WTF? I guess their assumption is that not only are their 20 minutes of the teacher work day that is currently unaccounted for and unused, but that we can surely find even more time than that to reprogram for collaboration and/or common planning. Finally, they show that they don’t even have a plan or a rationale for how that time would be used anyway, they’d like to host (aka require) twice-monthly meetings to figure that out. Certainly, we can find plenty of unused/unprogrammed time within our work-day to commit to these meetings to figure out how to use all of our currently unused/unprogrammed time. Great idea!

    Lots more minutia:
    In case you thought these contract negotiations were “all about money,” think again. The District’s website has a host of pdfs where you can see their proposed wording changes from our last contract. It’s scary. I can’t commit the time to even begin to compare the changes to Special Education requirements and teacher-student-aid ratios. I’m really glad there is a team of bargainers on that one. But here’s one example that raises big red flags:

    Teachers are “…expected to reply to all emails and phone messages regarding student progress within two working days. Teachers will be expected to maintain grades and progress reporting in a timely and regular manner to enable parents, guardians, and students themselves to view student progress throughout the school year via the district-adopted electronic gradebook and learning management system. Following their decision-making matrix, schools may establish…”

    This clause is new and opens the door to ever more onerous expectations placed on teachers by administration.

    The bottom line (which this is): Viva la picket lines.

  • mike.. September 13, 2015 (7:08 pm)

    I hope so soon …omg..

  • detailsareeverything September 13, 2015 (7:55 pm)

    dp—thanks for posting this! i was going to but got distracted reading other things. as a high school teacher (yes, sps employee and sea member) i’ve been disheartened by all the people who rush complain when we’re all
    being affected! we all want this to end but this is years in the making, years of teachers acquiescing to contract negotiations that didn’t necessarily go our way so that school
    could start, so that kids wouldn’t be “punished” or caught in between, and we could teach!
    the stranger article is very thought provoking. we should probably go that way in washington state.

  • Susan September 13, 2015 (7:57 pm)

    As a parent of an Fairmount Park elementary student, I find the latest list of teacher requests for the next week of picketing as posted by the PTA on our school facebook page to be so far out of line that it ought to be removed. The latest teacher request is for iTunes gift cards in order to purchase music for the picket line so the teachers don’t get bored. Go check the page for yourself.

    So, let me get this straight: I have over $125 worth of school supplies sitting inside your empty classrooms while I shell out money for unexpected child care costs, and now the word gets put out to us families that the teachers would sure like some new tunes to rock out to on the picket lines?! ARE YOU INSANE?! I get that picketing is boring, but that’s the choice the union made, not parents. I do not understand the requests that families help make sure it is as pleasant and upbeat as possible. Fairmount Parents have been asked to provide food but with stipulations (“Hey Parents, teachers are asking for no more sweets. Just salty snacks!” Are you for real? Are you all never happy?! ). We are being asked to provide arts and crafts for kids who are at the picket line. We have been asked to sign up for garbage collection. But the latest iTunes gift cards request is enough. ENOUGH! These requests DO NOT BELONG on the elementary school facebook page. You know what belongs on the facebook page? Ideas of where to put my kids while teachers strike. Ideas for how to minimize the impact of the dreaded educational “summer slide” we parents heard about non-stop last Spring. Information about how teachers are preparing to make up for lost time. Those are great things to put on the school web page. Put your strike requests on your union website and let those of us who want to help come find you, not the other way around.

  • Gatewood Gurl September 13, 2015 (8:00 pm)

    I support the teachers …… Never ever the district. Teachers doing what is good for kids!

  • Mike September 13, 2015 (8:02 pm)

    Imagine if SPS didn’t deal with unions and had to have recruiters hiring teachers, being creative with lucrative deals and bonuses. Gosh, I wonder what would happen to teacher salaries if there was no union. One might look to Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Oracle and others then think…dang, those people get paid well. Granted those people work insane stupid hours because they don’t have a union, but shoot…they’re paid very well and have caused the housing market here to skyrocket. But, everyone loves a union with their subpar benefits packages and crappy pay.

  • alki resident September 13, 2015 (8:24 pm)

    Susan-I have to laugh at your “outrage”.Can you not be creative and find child care without someone referring you? Call the Y, ask your neighbors,friends etc. There thousands of kids in this area, put yourself out there and ask around. Try being more supportive of the teachers and what theyre doing for your kids sake.Asking for salty instead of sweets is not much to ask for considering all the labor,love and extra time they put into our kids.

  • Curate September 13, 2015 (8:40 pm)

    I’ve been 110% behind the teachers in this strike but agree with Susan that iTunes gift card requests are beyond the pale. That’s New Yorker cartoonish!

    And @Alki Resident: How can you be so sure that Susan hasn’t tried to “put herself out there” in terms of finding childcare? I found your reaction to her to be really insensitive and indicative of blind support for the teachers. It is OK not to support the teachers in their music/entertainment and dietary requests. Just because we are parents we’re supposed to do everything in our power to support the teachers? I for one am extremely grateful to the wonderful SPS teachers our kids have encountered over the years but am not bringing food to the picket lines. And I’ve not lost my sense of humor throughout all of this either — iTunes gift cards? Seriously?

  • HP Neighbor September 13, 2015 (8:42 pm)

    Here’s an answer to your question about Picketing on Monday and Tuesday.

    Across Seattle the picket lines are as follows:
    Monday AM at own school
    Monday PM at Zone Area HS (WSHS or Sealth in WS only)
    Monday Parents are Picketing to JSCEE for Play-In (hopefully only rain will get them wet :-))

    Tuesday Rolling Picket At JSCEE

  • david September 13, 2015 (8:46 pm)

    @Pau Fischburg
    thank you for posting that information!
    now here is another outright lie by the spokes person:
    “they” are doing their very best to frame the conversation so it suits their needs.
    Thank you SEA for finally stepping up and putting out a small press conference of your own. Please keep it up!

  • flmiflam September 13, 2015 (8:49 pm)

    what? new pay proposal?

    I thought this was about respect? seattle times story from a week ago quoted one striking teacher as such, at least.

    is it about respect, pay, or free iTunes?

  • david September 13, 2015 (8:52 pm)

    ! 12noon tomorrow garfield students will be putting on a Jazz Serenade for the teachers – media should be present!

  • Marie September 13, 2015 (8:58 pm)

    I think Susan may be fairly reacting to the idea that these gifts/items/supplies/food requests ARE quite possibly coming across as expected of parents.

  • AmandaKH September 13, 2015 (9:04 pm)

    For a frame of reference. Roxhill Elementary is holding the lines on Roxbury and on 35th tomorrow. They will NOT be joining Denny/Sealth. They are not asking for anything, but since the picket captain is my friend and neighbor, I insisted. And they could use some lunch, snacks and moral support.

  • mm September 13, 2015 (9:05 pm)

    a bit tired of all the PR/photo opps. This situation is not joyous.

  • mm September 13, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    Not trying to say I don’t appreciate blog coverage- I do. Just frustrated by parties pr spin.

  • David September 13, 2015 (9:09 pm)

    Thanks for the great coverage WSB. The lack of clear information from both sides is frustrating. Hoping someone can clarify if the distract has the funds to meet the salary increases SEA is asking for? If not does SEA propose taking the money from other budget items, if so which ones? I’m all for more pay but it’s not clear to me if there is any money (available today) to actually do so. SPS mentions having to cut funding to other areas, which I think I’d be ok with if it means better teacher pay but the devil is in the details. Maybe this entire ordeal will push the state to step up, for some reason I doubt it.

  • Michael September 13, 2015 (9:12 pm)

    i would like to see the union vote on the next proposal. Or at least vote on whether or not to continue the strike. This is just devastating to our children who want to be in school. I find it hard to believe that anyone has but the utmost respect for our teachers. SPS as a villain is ludicrous. I came from Dallas ISD and can tell you that as inept as they are, their kids are in school.

  • aParentLikeYou September 13, 2015 (9:14 pm)

    I used to be a spokesperson for a large governmental agency. It’s one of the toughest jobs going. My heart goes out to Stacy Howard. There are probably about 100 other things she’d rather be doing on a Sunday afternoon.

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (9:27 pm)

      AParent … since you mention that, it wasn’t relevant to the story itself so I had no reason to mention it but: She had family sitting in the back row of the auditorium because it was a milestone birthday or something like that (I didn’t listen closely) and they were all proceeding to an event immediately afterward. Just a datapoint. She did e-mail back via phone that she’d check on the question above (and if I don’t hear anything tonight, I will follow up tomorrow …so much is usually in flux during the first month of school, MINUS something like this). – TR

  • Mike September 13, 2015 (9:17 pm)

    iTunes, people still use that? you know you can stream from Google Play for free if you just listen to a few seconds of an ad on the first time you launch it. After that, awesome free music streaming direct to you, even get to select various music genres and such.
    Pay for iTunes cards….bwahahahahahahaha
    How about a Salty’s gift card, hell…maybe they’ll deliver their fine seafood brunch too. BWAHAHAHAHAHA

  • HTB September 13, 2015 (9:20 pm)

    This is ridiculous. It seems to be more important that SEA “wins” the negotiation vs getting back into the classroom. Most people know support teachers but simply can’t fathom not showing up to work! There’s a better way.

  • Susan September 13, 2015 (9:25 pm)

    @MM. Yes. Thank you. Absolutely. I, too, am tired of this feeling like a big fun party that we should all bring our kids to and dance and sing and have cake! The funny glasses/capes I have seen on the lines, the kids craft activities, etc have really undermined what the teachers and union are trying to get across to parents like me.

  • FPE parent September 13, 2015 (9:37 pm)

    @Alki Resident who wants us to be “creative” and ask around: are you offering to watch my child while I work this week? I’m just asking.

  • Alex September 13, 2015 (9:47 pm)

    i agree with mm and Susan. I was on the picket line with my son’s teachers last week and still support them 100%. However, On Friday afternoon the happy community service pics got to me. This is not fun & smiles and soups and snacks and coffee. It’s insanely stressful not to know how long this will go on. Not to mention what it’s like for people that live check to check to have to pay for additional safe child care. (There are about 3,000 free spots at the centers for 50,000 kids so many people are paying for child care). Where are the photos of parents pulling their hair out wondering how they will pay for all of the extra child care?

    In order for this to get resolved, we need to turn up the political pressure. Where are the media stories about the stress on parents? Where is the Mayor on this? Where is the outrage toward SPS for not getting a mediator until after the contract had expired? I am outraged. It’s time to increase the political pressure or could go on & on. They need to feel our pain.

    Thanks for the good coverage WSB.

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (10:06 pm)

      Alex – Only formal statement I’ve seen from Mayor Murray was this one:
      Not that we have asked, though. Maybe someone else has.
      As for stories about what families are going through … for our format, I encourage people to tell their stories in comments (which, yes, ARE fairly widely read) … But I would also suggest, as a former regional-media news manager, that even for the corporate-owned news outlets, they’re fairly short on people these days and have to go for what’s “easy” – a scheduled briefing here, a scheduled briefing there, a group of teachers picketing, etc. They tend to rely on people reaching out to them (or on stories that first turn up elsewhere, like a community news publication). If you have a compelling story to tell – groups of parents from one school or neighborhood forming a temporary co-op or … ????? – pick your favorite TV station and e-mail their tipline. (CC us!) Otherwise, if you’ve ever seen how they do person-on-the-street interviews in some stories – it’s literally standing on a streetcorner and finding somebody to grab to try to get reaction from. I did see a link from KING go by in social media with the angle “families bringing kids to work b/c they can’t find child care.”

  • Elle Nell September 13, 2015 (9:55 pm)

    It’s soo darn funny how people act like the “extras” teachers do should be financially rewarded. Not like they should not BUT how many of us do things at work that “should” be rewarded… And to say, “considering the labor love and extra time they put in for our kids”, is just CRAZY! Teachers for decades have been making the choice to become a teacher, NOT to get rich, but to teach. You make a CHOICe to become the person who parents leave their children with to teach and that REQUIRES Labor, love and extra time… Are we SErIOuS!!??? GET back to TEACHING cause it’s YOUR job!!! NONE of this crap is helping our Kids!!!

  • admiralmom47 September 13, 2015 (9:56 pm)

    I honestly hate that this has become a FOR or AGAINST teachers issues. I support the teachers and have shown that through volunteering at the school, serving on the PTA board, assisting during teacher appreciation week and more. I think most of the teachers we have had through three children at SPS have been amazing. Some have also been clearly protected by the Union and allowed to teach despite considerable issues and multiple parent complaints.

    However, I also am a social worker with a Masters degree. I work with many people who do public service, non profit and government work. We ALL have Masters degrees. We all are required to have CEUs. We all have stressful jobs. We take care of the mentally ill, the very elderly, those that are dying, and more. We track communicable diseases, investigate child abuse, and ensure that people’s human rights are protected. None of us earns what a teacher makes and none of us has the pension or vacation time.

    We chose our profession for the other rewards it offers. Because we had a calling and it provided satisfaction in many other ways. We worry too about how to pay for housing or our children’s college or even the extra curricular activities our children want to participate in.

    We don’t want a race to the bottom and pit ourselves against teachers in any way, but teachers may not truly understand the reality of what it is like out there. Comparing yourself to an Amazon or Microsoft worker is simply disingenuous. Compare yourself to a CPS worker, or policeman, or emergency room hospital social worker is more in line. We all do critical jobs that society needs, and we all CHOSE these jobs for a multitude of reasons.

    While I support the teachers, I cannot afford to buy ITunes, or bring soup, or supply crafts. I am another Master’s level community member struggling to keep my head above water, while paying for child care, working, and wondering why this conversation forgets that there are MANY public servants with a Masters degree, major debt, who struggle with living in Seattle.

  • D2 September 13, 2015 (9:57 pm)

    @Susan – I agree with you that the Fairmount Park PTA request is inappropriate and bad ju-ju all around, and I also caution people not to assume that this poor judgment there reflects anything more than the parents involved in communications there. Not the first time that messages from FPE’s PTA have been tactless about the full spectrum of parents and our needs and challenges. Sorry to be vague, not trying to accuse without all the details. I just mean to say that it’s one thing to converse with teachers on the picket lines and ask them what we can do to help, but entirely another thing to translate their innocent response of ‘we’re okay, thank you, oh, okay, here’s our whimsical idea if you really must’ as an actual thing for stretched-to-the-breaking-point parents to worry about.

  • alki resident September 13, 2015 (9:59 pm)

    Two of my closest friends are teachers on strike.I fully support them. As far as child care goes, try West Seattle Moms, West Seattle Giving Tree, MOPS,churches, there tong of stay home moms here that could be available to babysit so you can work.
    @Mike- salty snacks vs sweets NOT Saltys gift cards.

  • mm September 13, 2015 (10:00 pm)

    it would be great to see a story of impact on parent work productivity/ employer productivity and economic impact on families of schoolchildren.

  • soi September 13, 2015 (10:12 pm)

    I went on ahead and had my mom pick up and take the kids over to eastern WA for the week. That’s my childcare solution. The drip, drip water torture trying to figure out if there’s school or not at 6 or 7 pm is a real hardship. Work doesn’t work like that. It makes planning for child care difficult. I have a pretty nice supervisor, but I’m not the only employee asking for comp time and negotiating to work at home or coming in late or leaving early. I’m with many in that I support teachers, but please drop the joyful, party like rally and self sacrificing 9-11 volunteering photo ops. It’s not joyful and not a happy occasion and why can’t people just pack their own lunches and snacks like everybody else. Pressure both parties to end this.

  • admiralmom47 September 13, 2015 (10:15 pm)

    @alkiresident…with all due respect as a parent of 3, MOPS is a closed group not a babysitting group, most of the stay at home parents I know are not thrilled to watch someone else’s child all day for days without end, and most places want and need many forms for your child….immunizations, allergies, liability, etc. Many are full and have long waiting lists, It is not as simple as just calling a place and dropping off a child for the day.

  • soi September 13, 2015 (10:30 pm)

    Thanks WSB for all your updates. I’ll be honest here, you wouldn’t caught me in front of the camera talking about the strike. I’ve volunteered in the school and know the staff. Like any place, there are great, caring people working there and a few not so great ones. I’ll still volunteer and yes, will give gift cards for teacher appreciation as expected.

  • SPS Teacher September 13, 2015 (10:31 pm)

    @Alex – I just want you to know that the district suggested a mediator before the contract expired and SEA agreed to it on the day the contract expired.

    At our general membership meeting, the exec director of the SEA (John Donaghy) mocked the SPS bargaining team for needing a mediator to “hold their hand”.

    So please don’t put the lack of mediator on SPS. SEA was against it. I am personally really glad SPS insisted because it seems like we have made much more progress with the mediator.

  • Just saying September 13, 2015 (10:36 pm)

    Don’t forget to factor into salaries the long summer vacations and generous holiday vacations. It’s rare to enjoy this benefit at comparable salaries. Let’s get our kids back in school.

  • Disillusioned SPS teacher September 13, 2015 (10:43 pm)

    I do not support this strike and realize thT what SEA is asking for amount to a $25 dollar a week difference in my paycheck. The union got everyone worked up into a frenzy by pointing out how the district treated us so rudely by not showing up to negotiations, showing up late, leaving early, and refusing to increase our pay for cost of living when they just raised their own salaries by 12 percent. All of this true but still manipulative. At Benaroya, dissenting teachers were booed and not allowed to present their views. Furthermore, SEA has never come to our building to ask what we want negotiating. I want a lower teacher to student ratio for EBD and autistic children because 10 to one with mentally ill children is an insane ratio. Anyway, don’t assume teachers are driving this strike because SEA and the district clearly are. And Imwas sick from the get go of all the enthusiasm by teachers for the strike so I haven’t shown up to picket nor will I tomorrow. I think the teacher fervor comes from a deep-seated anger that the sup.t makes $1,000 per day and his district cronies all make 6 figures and yet they do not do the work of teaching children. What exactly do they do? Anybody know?

  • Solidarity September 13, 2015 (10:43 pm)

    No one is “joyous”. This process, that SPS only took seriously a week ago, is extremely stressful for strikers, too. Knowing we are united in doing not only what’s right for us, but for students, is important.
    We smile because we love our communities, our families, and our peers. We also smile after years of overloaded classrooms, after students throw chairs at us or cuss us out, after buying basic supplies from our own pockets, after helping kids that need more help than we are able to provide .
    If we didn’t smile we’d weep from the lack of support and respect that our employer shows us and the kids, from the meaningless hoops that both we and our students have to jump through, from the inequality that is entrenched in the system.
    We smile because that’s the only way to be strong. We smile because being hopeful is better than being angry or sad. We smile because we believe our communities are hopeful, too.

  • Leslie September 13, 2015 (10:48 pm)

    I’m curious to know how much the SPS administrators are paid and if quite a bit more than an average teachers salary would the administrators be willing to take a cut in pay so there would be more money in the budget for teachers and support staff.
    It sounds like the total pot of money for salaries is finite so could it be reallocated to help solve the teacher pay increase?

  • Mike September 13, 2015 (10:52 pm)

    Leslie, all public info for you on salary, bonus, benefits

  • Frustrated September 13, 2015 (10:58 pm)

    A lot of us support the teachers because we want quality teachers for our children. Throughout this process I have been supportive because I want to believe that this strike is about more than pay and more about regaining control of education. However, that belief is diminishing as another weekend of negotiations has been wasted. If the teachers are holding out because they think they will have continuous parental support they need to be careful. A tipping point is being reached where support will move to irritability and frustration as the parents continue to go to work and begin being the ones to lose money over the strike. I place most of the blame on Supt. Nyland as it is his responsibility to run the district in a way that avoids these issues. But I believe the honking horns and treats will nearly be eliminated by Wednesday. This is not 1985 anymore, people no longer have the patience or graciousness that they did 30 years ago. Look how quickly people forgot about the fires in the middle of the state- pretty much within a week. You don’t hear about food drives or support drives for those victims and those are real victims who have lost homes and lives. Striking teachers are not victims. If an issue is still going on longer than four days people have moved on and no longer want to hear about it. They certainly don’t want to hear about having to provide I-tunes or treats. If you want the strike to have an impact struggle through. I agree it should not look like a birthday party at the strike line with a bunch of teachers sitting on the curb “resting.”

  • SPS Teacher September 13, 2015 (11:04 pm)

    @Disillusioned SPS Teacher

    Reading your words brings so much relief to me. I wish there was a way for those of us that are opposed to this strike could speak up without being blacklisted. I feel exactly as you do. I have not gone to one thing strike event. I absolutely know our union is being dishonest with us – about missed meetings, proposals, etc. That union meeting was nothing but a pep rally where dissenters were booed and hissed at.

    In Solidarity with you tomorrow when I am not on a picket line.

  • Qforrest September 13, 2015 (11:10 pm)

    Why can’t the central office take money out of Their staffing budget? Instead of taking money away from textbooks, they should be taking it from district admin. And the person that said the central office does so much keeping the school district in compliance, PLEASE. How many lawsuits have been settled lately? Is SPS in compliance with SPED? Why isn’t this brought up? They aren’t accountable, and are harder to fire than a bad teacher.

  • FPparent September 13, 2015 (11:12 pm)

    I have children at FP and was visiting my kids teachers on the picket line. I heard the conversation about music. Someone asked a teacher what they wanted for food and the teacher said there was tons of food. The person asked what else they could! bring and there was a comment about music. I think Susan is helping blow this up.
    This isn’t about greedy teachers. There are many issues. I’m pretty sure they live in the “real world” and they are paid for the actual days they teach. It’s not “time off.”
    I agree having to deal with childcare is a hardship. I want the strike to end but I’ll find a way to support the strike as long as I can.

  • hSteacher September 13, 2015 (11:21 pm)

    Uhm….I was at the Benaroya Hall meeting. The only negative reactions were when people repeatedly asked questions that had been answered. If you don’t support the strike, that’s your choice but tell the truth. Boos and hisses?! Didn’t happen.

    You know there’s a problem when RECESS becomes a contract issue and the fat cats at SPS headquarters are adding more bureaucrats.

  • Disillusioned SPS teacher September 13, 2015 (11:21 pm)

    Can we stop saying teachers want? The union is calling the shots and they have. Not asked any of us if we are happy with the district offer. And then when SEA decides it is a good offer, we teachers, the sheep let that we are, will be happy with it, too. And enough of this solidarity bs. We are hardly the Wobblies or the IWW. We are not coal workers or factory workers. Yes. Our union is important but when did SEA get so big that they no longer come to our schools to ask us what we want in a contract? When did they get so busy, that they no longer ask the workers if they want the district contract? Shouldn’t it be put to a vote if the district contract now offered is acceptable?

    How is SEA any different than our bosses in the district office telling us what to do, when to picket, when to do community service and when to be happy with a contract?

    How are SEA and the district any different?

    I wish I had a REAL union that actually was a union in its truest sense and actually took into account we teachers….

  • Disillusioned SPS teacher September 13, 2015 (11:28 pm)

    Thank you, sps teacher. You don’t know how happy your comments make me feel. I have been tormented but the fact that I have not been supporting my co-workers by not picketting, tormented by anger over our union leaving we the actual workers out of voting on the district offers, tormented by worry over the children at home that I wa t to be teaching, worried as my own kids stress over not knowing if they go back to school tomorrow or in a month.

    Thank you. I thought I was the only teacher not picketing. But watch, I bet we both will be booed now. So much for having a voice in our union.

  • Marigoldman September 13, 2015 (11:36 pm)

    Reading the PTA website I see that no funds can go toward strike activities, so I fail to see how people volunteering and asking how they could help with the various things involved (and then being answered as to what those things have been) is beyond the pale. Are people not free to help how they like, and perfectly able to decline as well?
    These teachers seem to have no expectations beyond what has been given.
    Looking over the “needs” list I also see suggestions for how families can be more comfortable and how to keep their kids entertained, not to mention the fact that everything was paid for out of pocket ahead of time with no expectation of repayment. As far as I can tell, everything there has been shared by families and teachers alike.

  • Mellow Yellow September 13, 2015 (11:50 pm)

    All the comments are me me me. Aside from a small handful of comments that have factual and relevant info, most our worthless.

  • STEMParent September 14, 2015 (12:08 am)

    Susan, I absolutely agree with you. While I support our teachers 100%, asking for iTunes gift cards is going too far. I’m also starting to be bothered by the party atmosphere on the picket lines. This isn’t a party for us parents. I know that a big part of this is them advocating for our kids but the happy photos I’m seeing in the press are starting to put me off.

  • Lynn September 14, 2015 (12:24 am)


    I wouldn’t count on an extension of the September 30th transfer deadline. That process hasn’t been delayed because it’s all handled downtown. Enrollment services is open every day I think.


    You seem unclear on the ownership of the Fairmoung Park PTA website – it’s run by parents.

    Elle Nell,

    You might reconsider your punctuation habits if you’re hoping anyone will take you seriously.

    Disillusioned SPS teacher,

    I believe Superintendent Nyland is actually paid $1,500 a day. No wonder board members Carr and Peaslee tell us they’d like to pay the teachers more but the money’s already gone.

  • WSEd September 14, 2015 (12:27 am)

    @Disillusioned@SPS Teacher It was a union meeting, of course there was cheerleading. There were no hisses or boos, except for, as stated above, those asking questions already answered in the handout. It was rude and uncalled for. There were hisses and boos also in response to things said about the district’s actions. People were able to get up and say their piece. It did become clear early on that the majority favored a strike, which could understandably discourage folks from speaking out.
    I think what is happening on the picket lines is this: schools on major thoroughfares are getting lots of attention, from commuters and the media. When people honk and take your picture, you tend to wave and smile. Educators are usually, by nature, social and friendly people. Our picket captain reminded us not to smile and our first day picketing was like a funeral procession. Those of us in quiet neighborhoods are not partying. None of us are happy about this or take it lightly.
    And to whoever said something about teachers sitting on the curb tired- you try walking non- stop for hours at a time. It’s tiring!

    The bargaining is tedious and the issues are many. Even union members have been impatient about the details. Each of us have concerns being addressed, across geography, levels, disciplines. Unfortunately salary is the one thing we all have in common and tends therefore to get airplay. Everyone who has or has ever had a job understands pay. But not everyone understands planning time or Sped ratios or evaluations or caseloads or not having access to the computer lab because it’s being used once AGAIN for testing.

    We get it that the rest of you have jobs and experience stress and financial stress. It’s baffling to me why others perceive our fight (literally for your kids, though some don’t believe it), as somehow diminishing or dismissive of you. And we are scrambling to find childcare too, just sayin.

  • Cera Syrah September 14, 2015 (12:34 am)

    As a teacher here, I optimistically thought (hoped) that things would get resolved over the weekend. Now that we are going into day 4 of the strike, I’m starting to have that uncomfortable feeling of dread (mixed with a sense of no control over the situation) thinking about having to picket again. I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has come out so far or who has donated ANYTHING (even just a honk driving by). It is truly appreciated. It does get boring being out there all day, and I’d rather be lesson planning or doing something productive than holding a ‘strike’ sign, but we aren’t supposed to do any work on the picket line. However, I have had multiple students and parents from last year stop by and those are the best parts of my day. I imagine that all of us will become increasingly frustrated if this strike continues, but I just ask that everyone remember the issues involved in this contract negotiation and not let your support waver even if your mood does (I have to remind myself of this, too). And if you didn’t support the strike in the first place, I completely understand that, too. As for myself, I stand by the reasons for the strike, but of course don’t support the kiddos not being in school. I do feel incredibly lucky to be a part of the West Seattle community, and I’ve got to give a shout out to this West Seattle Blog–I always find out about the strike info here first. I will be out there again tomorrow, getting to know my coworkers a bit better, hoping to see some more students and families, and hoping hard for a tentative agreement. And I think I probably speak for many teachers when I say that if you do want to show your continued support, we never get tired of the honking, thumbs ups, shakas, waves, and fist bumps when you drive by.

  • NZSEA September 14, 2015 (12:36 am)

    I get what Susan is saying as a lot of school based FB pages are shame basing parents who can’t or just not into organizing stuff. Susan Delridge and Highpoint community centers still have space M-F 8-5… To those judgmental people.. Last week there were not these options. The mayor’s expansion came out on Friday. So last week was tough. I had to do a creative schedule and work weekends but not all families have a flexible work. I have said it many times do not come out of rooms until deal is made ( like a jury.)

  • M September 14, 2015 (6:19 am)

    Maybe the district should help facilitate the teachers to find work during the summers to supplement their annual salaries.

  • not thrilled but holding the line September 14, 2015 (6:25 am)

    It’s “THEIR” job so get to work?!? I for one have worked with a teacher who simply worked her contracted hours and then left. As a parent, it was frustrating because we could never get things done.

    Think about this when you ask your teacher for an evening conference or to contribute to a weekend function. In my years as an SPS parent, I have mostly seen teachers go well above what they should do under their contract. These teachers buy food, shoes, and coats for students who need them. They routinely provide school supplies, hygiene materials, and pay for field trips for students in need (and they do it w/o fanfare or expectation of repayment). They meet with parents early in the morning, on the weekends, or in the evening (whenever they can accommodate a busy family)to make sure that parents are involved and connected with the learning. None of this is in their contract but they do it, all the same.

    I support teachers because they routinely go above the contract with their time, energy, money, and passion. They so seldom ask for gratitude and when they say they need something to help my kid or the kids in our classroom, you can bet that I will help! If we all “did” our own jobs as parents, we might be having a different conversation.

  • Loubob September 14, 2015 (6:45 am)

    Regarding Elle Nell’s comments: “Teachers for decades have been making the choice to become a teacher, NOT to get rich, but to teach. You make a CHOICe to become the person who parents leave their children with to teach and that REQUIRES Labor, love and extra time… Are we SErIOuS!!??? GET back to TEACHING cause it’s YOUR job!!! NONE of this crap is helping our Kids!!!”

    Get rich?! Seriously? A 16-year-old babysitter makes about $10 per hour per child. Let’s apply that to teachers’ pay. Let’s say a teacher makes the same $10 per hour. Multiply that times 30 (average class size in high school). That’s $300 per hour. Multiply that times the number of classes taught per day ($300 x 5 = $1,500). Multiply that times 5 (working days per week). That’s $7,500 per week. Multiply that times the number of weeks teachers are paid per school year (approx. 40). That’s $7,500 per week x 40 weeks = $300,000 annually. And, by the way, we also TEACH. So, to use your words: “SErIOuS!!???”

  • Concerned Parent September 14, 2015 (7:05 am)

    Hi WSB – do you know if negotiations are still continuing today? Thanks for the coverage.

  • Teachers September 14, 2015 (7:07 am)

    Employees of those private sector companies are welcome to send their children to private school.
    If you don’t like to take public transportation because it is slow and inconvenient – drive a car.
    The same applies to public education. If you’re going to expect teachers to be nothing more than bus drivers – deal with the strike because, under the current system, that is the only power we have.

  • DP September 14, 2015 (7:34 am)

    Any two- or three-year contract agreed to will simply be kicking the can down the road. I feel that once that contract expires, we’ll be right back where we currently are. I really wish the WA Supreme Court would step in, and light a flame under the butts of the WA state legislature…beyond a $100K/ day fine that hasn’t seemed to do much, at all.

  • cb September 14, 2015 (7:34 am)

    Thank you WSB for providing a forum for us to speak our minds. You rock. The “media” has been bad on both sides — by misrepresenting the teachers (it’s not all about $$) and parents (wait a minute, not ALL parents support how this is unfolding – maybe only those without jobs to go to???).

    I agree with Frustrated. Time is of the essence here. Support is dwindling. People that go to work and get their stuff done have no patience for posturing, finger pointing and delay. The union will crawl back in the hole they came from and the teachers will end up taking the fall if this goes much longer.

    Teachers — you say you want to go back to school. Well then make that union work for you to speed things up. They take your hard earned money every month (what little you have of it so it seems) so do something about it. They are only accountable to you – not to the general public. If you don’t hold them to a timeline, then no one will.

  • Evil Twin Teacher September 14, 2015 (7:44 am)

    As things are currently teachers cannot get a raise by working hard. The strike is the only power we have.

  • Elle Nell September 14, 2015 (7:57 am)

    Hey mellow- actually most of the comments are Them them and oh it’s them!!
    I say, take responsibity for your part and DO your part to end this madness. It is NOT about the kids and I do know the facts…

  • Concerned Parent September 14, 2015 (7:57 am)

    @WSB – Thanks as always. I am glad to know they didn’t quit early. Hopefully there will be good progress today and they are still actively talking.

  • Wsteacher September 14, 2015 (8:01 am)

    I am suspicious of whether disillusioned SPS teacher and SPS teacher are the same person writng under two monikers… The small group of people that spoke against a strike at the union meeting were speaking against the wording of the stirke or because they were going to be in a hardship because of the strike. It was an amazingly ovewhelmingly unanimous vote for a strike.

    As a teacher, I can tell you the teachers at my school are not asking parents for anything except patience. All of us want to be teaching, but we are striking because we are sick of getting the brunt of the district’s stick. We are fed up of not being listened to when we are fighting for what we need to do our job well. It makes me so sad to read comments on here that say you should have chose another job if you wanted more money. So many teachers spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms, I personally spend about $1000./year… This district does not listen to it’s teachers. It is too darn big. I truly am holding out because of the recess time(finally settled, but still not enough time for kids), extending the work day (which is now being folded into our day, but taking away our before and afterschool planning/meeting times), equity in all schools (a big problem), and educational support staff ratios. I am sorry this is inconviencing everyone. My own children are bored to tears (literally) on the picket lines because I can not find child care either (nor afford it). So I understand the hardships this is creating. I have been hoping every night to hear that the next day, school will start. We finally have had movement over the weekend. My hopes are that if we continue to get a large show of community support (emails and letters written to the district) then the strike will end sooner than later and hopefully within the week. Our union has moved a lot on the issues, the district is not moving as much.

  • Concerned Parent September 14, 2015 (8:10 am)

    @Wsteacher – who at the union do you suggest we parents write to as well? I know another WSB story had some emails listed for both sides. Will it do any good to write? I don’t think it is a matter of just flooding the district with emails and letters. Both sides need to know a resolution needs to happen.

  • Hillary Shaw September 14, 2015 (8:33 am)

    Susan et al –

    Please take a moment to read this, and contact me directly with concerns at any time:

    I look forward to implementing suggestions you have to make our community stronger.

    Strike Resources:

    Our Communications Chair position is open. Let me know if you are interested in volunteering to fill the important role.

    This is a stressful time. Let’s work together to support our students.

    Hillary Shaw

  • SPS Teacher September 14, 2015 (8:38 am)

    Oh please. Disillusioned Teacher and I are not the same. Can’t believe it’s hard to believe that there might be two teachers out there who don’t support this.

    As far as the union meeting, remember the woman who spoke and had to ask a room full of teachers not to boo her? She didn’t want to strike. She is worried about how she will pay her bills as a some bread winner. Apparently others are just now starting to figure out that Oct 1 pay checks will only be for TRI days.

    How about the one that asked what would happen if someone chose to cross the picket line and everyone hissed. She said “do I really hear hissing?”

    John Donaghy set the tone when someone asked what happens if we don’t vote for a strike and his response was “the district tells is to eat s@&#!” Unprofessional and making it clear that dissent isn’t acceptable.

    I tried to write this comment last night but it didn’t show up. So I’ll try again today with the profanity obscured.

    I’m so over this.

  • SchoolVolunteer September 14, 2015 (8:39 am)

    @David, and others who have mentioned concerns about whether or not SPS can pay for SEA’s demands:

    It is my understanding that at least one member of the SEA bargaining team works in the finance office at John Stanford, and that this individual believes there are large discrepancies between what SPS says it can afford and what the financial data say. Moreover, the issue is not as simple as either having the money or not having the money. This sort of budgeting involves fairly complex economic forecasting, and slight differences in the conservatism of those forecasts can dramatically change one’s opinion of what can be paid for in the future.

    Beyond that, not all of the outstanding issues would cost the district very much. Issues of teacher evaluations could be remedied without impacting the budget in a large way. Deciding to not push teachers to instruct for an extra 20 minutes a day, with no plan for implementation or logical explanation for the value of such a change, would not cost anything.

  • SPS Teacher September 14, 2015 (8:44 am)


    Go read through all of the proposals. The district has given a ton. So much that’s not in the press but please get yourself informed. ESA caps, increased sub pay, increased overtime for SAEOPs, recess, mentor programs, tech pay, equity teams, the list goes on. Every single one of those things costs money, and most of them are settled or the district has moved in big ways.

    • WSB September 14, 2015 (9:14 am)

      Just texted by SEA – “Negotiations are likely to continue today … no TA yet.”

  • Rope September 14, 2015 (9:43 am)

    SEA has assured it’s members that its communications are strategic and the strike will be settled by the strength of the picketers and the negotiation team. In the next breath they suggest an action at a school board member’s home. This is harassment and displays a high degree of immaturity. It is an action designed to inflame public sentiment against teachers. Once the strike is over SEA leadership will return to their isolated cubicles and the WEA will return to Federal Way. Teachers and the communities they serve will still need to work together. Strategies that divide instead of unify are counterproductive. SEA and WEA are demonstrating the kind of short sighted thinking that earned teachers 0% salary increases six years in a row.

    • WSB September 14, 2015 (9:46 am)

      Rope, where did you see and/or hear a suggestion of an “action at a school board member’s home”?

  • --- September 14, 2015 (9:58 am)

    Agreed on 15 issues, 23 still to go. Details can be found here.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE: This comment came in with “WSB” as the screen name. That is *only* to be used by site admins so we’ve removed it.)

  • Mike September 14, 2015 (10:00 am)

    To any employee, workplace harassment is a violation of labor laws in Washington State. If anyone is making somebody feel threatened to speak up at the union meetings, that’s a violation of law. If the person running the union meeting is harassing those that might speak out, that’s a violation of law. Please report it here
    It’s wrong and needs to stop. Now.

  • T Rex September 14, 2015 (10:13 am)

    Don’t have kids but just curious about something.

    Were any parents out there aware that there was a possibility of a strike? Some people have made comments that they knew this started in May but not sure if they are teachers or parents.

  • WSmomof2 September 14, 2015 (10:33 am)

    T Rex… many parents knew this was a possibility. I follow these kinds of things as I have two in public elementary school. I know a lot of Kindergarten parents were surprised. It is a tough time for everyone. I wish that parents had at least 24 hours notice of when school is to start. I know many parents are considering sending children to grandparents, but the day to day not knowing until 3PM, makes that decision impossible. I feel so grateful that I can stay home, trying help my working mom friends as much as I can. I support our teachers… Spec Ed needs to change in SPS, we have spent 4 years trying to make sure my guy has the support he needs. Those teachers need lighter case loads, not heavier. 1 in 42 boys will have Autism (and I personally think that ratio is higher in our high-tech city), Spec Ed needs help in SPS. Thank you to teachers for understanding the importance of Special Education resources in our public schools!

  • Rope September 14, 2015 (10:45 am)

    The “candlelight vigil” at Marty’s house was included in an SEA communication about upcoming actions. The communication was shared with picketers this morning. I received the communication as an attachment. I would normally pass this onto other parents, but thought it needed wider discussion.

  • West Sea Dad September 14, 2015 (11:07 am)

    We support the teachers! Blame the district if there’s no school, they need to bargain fairly not hold the community hostage.

  • Earnest WS Native September 14, 2015 (11:09 am)

    Found this semi-informative PDF (YMMV), from the North American Association of Educational Negotiators, describing labor union tactics, specifically with school boards.

    Tactics 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 sound familiar.

    • WSB September 14, 2015 (11:21 am)

      @Earnest – Fascinating, had never heard of that organization, whose mission is here and since they don’t have a membership list, there’s no indication whether district negotiators here are members. The organization did not write the item to which you linked, and it does not appear to be about any specific district/union situation anywhere, but it’s sad IMO to see either “side” semi-officially hold the other in such clear disregard by writing something like that.

  • mjantzen September 14, 2015 (11:15 am)

    The best future solution if your teacher and your disillusioned by the strike is to get involved earlier on – doubly so with member run unions. Getting involved shows strength and its the only thing bullies like these people understand.

    No-one wants to strike, but its the biggest hammer the union has. Otherwise I guess get used to rolling over every-time they want you to make a concession.

    My understanding is the district played hardball for over a year by ignoring proposals, and not showing up to negotiation meetings – likely because they thought that the union had no member support and would cave a week before school started. This is a common tactic and its common because it works.

    Failing that – an awful lot of corporate trainers I’ve run into lately were former k-12 teachers – making 4-8 times what they did teaching and doing 100x less work.

    For anyone that’s like “how do we pay for this” keep in mind – these same admins have no trouble finding money to pay for their own projects. That’s one of management’s jobs – to find money to pay market rate wages. Maybe a year or two ago when these proposals were brought up they should have started working on how to solve that.

  • Kittyno September 14, 2015 (11:46 am)

    I’m new to public school system. We had no idea that a strike was a possibility. Childcare is a real problem–most of us interview caregivers or check locations before turning our kids over. The idea that this can be done on short notice is absurd. And kids with special needs? Ha.

    I love the work that teachers do. A good portion of them donate their own time, money, and materials. A good teacher is GOLD. I think the student ratios need adjusting. And I think that any teacher who is average and above average ought to earn far more than they do.

    That said, I think unions are toxic. They protect the lowest common denominator and the very people who ought to be ousted. As an example:
    This doesn’t mean I don’t support our teachers, but I often wonder how our state system would shake out if we de-unionized. Probably low income areas would suffer. No real answer, but I wish it did not involve unions.

  • Kittyno September 14, 2015 (11:46 am)

    WSB: can you clarify what TA means? Something agreement?

    • WSB September 14, 2015 (11:48 am)

      At first I thought it short for ETA but realized that it’s mostly just us and the public-safety business that uses it extensively meaning “expected time of arrival” aka “expected start time.” So I’m 99 percent sure it means Tentative Agreement.

  • au September 14, 2015 (11:58 am)

    “The district presented an offer to pay teachers for added instructional minutes,”

    What a generous offer!(not) First they (the district) requires teachers to work longer days and now for bargaining purposes they are offering to pay them for the additional work?!How is that any sort of offer!? How can that even be conceived as bargaining?

  • Earnest WS Native September 14, 2015 (12:11 pm)

    @WSB, indeed. I wasn’t sure if NAEN was legit, but they appear to be. I noticed in this brochure:
    an OR contact at Also, I believe that article was originally written in the American School Board Journal, Volume 164, from 1977.

  • DP September 14, 2015 (12:20 pm)

    @SPS Teacher and Disillusioned SPS Teacher:

    Out of curiosity, why have you been against the strike? I haven’t been to a single picket because I didn’t feel as though SEA had provided enough info to me (as an SEA member) and I didn’t like that. I had no idea how pay was going to work, what all the issues were, etc.
    While I do support any and all working-class people in labor negotiations in general, I feel solely targeting SPS is short-sighted as this is a WA state problem. Methinks educators and families demanding more of our state legislature via a concentrated presence in Olympia could accomplish a lot more.

  • teacher2 September 14, 2015 (12:21 pm)

    @Rope – I also heard about the candlelight vigil but did not know it was at someone’s house. I agree that it would be harassment and I have asked our picket manager if there would be another option. With that said, I am still in support of what we are doing – see below.

    @Elle Nell – You are right, teacher’s often make the choice to become a teacher not to get rich. However, many other people also make the choice to not become a teacher because they will not make enough. Those people are very bright educated individuals that could be amazing teachers. Some were even teachers but left for money elsewhere. I know several people that this applies to. I am lucky enough to have a husband that is not an educator who can help support us living in the city I work in so that I can work at a low income school.

    As a special education teacher in a low income school I am directly impacted with many of the issues at hand. Salary is not one I personally care about but I can see how it directly impacts teachers with whom I work. Rather, I care about recess times. Poor students receive far less recess (my students only had 15 minutes last year after lunch, not long enough for a child). I realize this is resolved but it is still an equity issue. I care about resource equity across schools, I had no curriculum when I walked into my classroom and had to spend my own money on resources to use to teach students that were already behind. I care about less testing. I was taken out of my role as an educator to be in testing for 3 months during the 5 months I taught last year. Kids do not deserve that. I care about staffing ratios for other sped teachers. To work extra time without their instructional assistants is asking for liability issues and for people to quit from burn out.

    I do feel very badly for the parents that are scrambling for childcare. But I also feel bad for the teachers who can’t even afford daycare for their own children while they teach because living expenses continue to increase in this city. (Those are the teachers that often leave the profession).

    @the 2 disillusioned teachers – I am sorry you feel this way. I agree that the union leaders are being a bit showy right now which is in poor taste. I also wish BOTH sides would put out factual details rather than manipulative statements.

    @the supportive parents – thank you. Your honks are appreciated more than you know.

    • WSB September 14, 2015 (12:31 pm)

      2 more updates, and we’ll be starting our Monday story around the top of the hour: Some Denny/Sealth teachers are marching to district HQ starting, we’re told, in a few minutes. We’re off to check – we were going to get picketing pix this afternoon. PLEASE let us know of any developments on the picket lines or elsewhere … today we had to stay at HQ for a few hours to catch up with some administrative stuff that fell by the wayside while we were out in the field much of the past several days. 206-293-6302 text or voice is fastest way and gets us instantly. Meantime, the district is having another 3 pm briefing, and we’ll be there. Re: community centers, I’m asking Seattle Parks if they have a general update, as I don’t have the bandwidth to call all four local centers and am hoping they’re centrally collecting info – TR

  • Alki mom September 14, 2015 (12:23 pm)

    We support the teachers in the strike, and we are fortunate to be able to pay for the extra childcare. I do worry about the folks who can’t afford it and can’t get into the community centers. Does anyone know if the community centers were able to take everyone who needed care or are they all full?

  • Alkiobserver September 14, 2015 (12:24 pm)

    I think the responsible thing for the district to do is just agree to whatever the latest proposal is from the teachers union no matter what the cost. Just pay ’em and agree to whatever terms they want. That would be the quickest and cheapest way to end this. Then, SPS just needs to go after the money they need from the legislature. But then again there is the truth to that saying about trying to get blood from a stone to deal with….

  • david September 14, 2015 (1:04 pm)

    @WSB & Earnest WS Native
    yes it does look like that document (if you can call it that) could have been written by either side for so many different reasons.

    This is psychological warfare people, welcome to the battlefield!
    Let’s get real though – Sun Tzu wrote it first.

    From the sound of the comments here, many are participating in the battle knowingly or not.

  • david September 14, 2015 (1:15 pm)

    We also have to remember what we are fighting for.
    It’s not just the Kids, it’s not just the teachers, it’s also for the future of mankind.
    I mean that seriously!
    Think about it – if you’re smart, you get it.
    If you had a good teacher in your life, you get it.

  • WSMom September 14, 2015 (1:19 pm)

    I know many people who are using the childcare at the community centers and also many people who are on the waitlist but the thing is more people I know who have their kids signed up DON’T NEED IT. Yes, they are Stay at Home Moms. Yes, they need a break. No, they should not hold up the spots from people who really, truly need the childcare.

  • Mike September 14, 2015 (1:29 pm)

    “Does anyone know if the community centers were able to take everyone who needed care or are they all full?”
    Ya, the community centers are about 45,000 spots short…

    • WSB September 14, 2015 (1:42 pm)

      Well, not necessarily. Parks tells me they’re expecting figures soon for today but as of yesterday afternoon, while Alki and Hiawatha were full, Delridge, High Point, and South Park were not. (I only asked about the SW area, of course, not the rest of the city.) Launching our next strike report momentarily and will include that info there … TR

  • MercyMoi September 14, 2015 (1:46 pm)

    If you want to watch numbers yourself, here is the registration page showing availability. South Park, for instance, has a lot of room for families in need.

    Scroll through pages for later dates.

  • Sandal42 September 14, 2015 (1:49 pm)

    I’m a stay at home mom and WOULD NEVER TAKE A CHILDCARE SPOT away from the working parents. On record though …….. I’m going out of my mind with the limbo stuff!

  • JS September 14, 2015 (2:23 pm)

    As citizens and taxpayers, it is up to *us* to fully fund education.

    Neither the legislature nor SPS can print money or create revenue without us electing and reelecting representatives who will tax us. We have papered this issue with laws demanding lower class size and better pay, but we have not pushed for or agreed to a state income tax or higher local levies.

    The buck stops with us.

  • Kimmy September 14, 2015 (8:12 pm)

    @Teacher2, fantastic point about recess. I think this should be addressed on a large, national level. Kids need time to develop independence, social relationships with peers, sensory development, etc., but there is so much, and I say too much, focus on academic instruction and structured, directed supervised play. I am a former Special Educator, and noticed recess and free play diminishing from school years ago, often due to safety concerns and liability, as well a laser focus on academics and testing.
    Thank you for all you do, I hope for everyones sake that administrators recognize the need for recess and breaks for educators.

  • Eric September 15, 2015 (3:14 am)

    Am I reading this right? According to this link, the average salary is almost 50,000 per year?

  • mjantzen September 15, 2015 (7:59 am)

    @Eric, I work for the state in higher ed (in IT) and I figure most people look at how much I make and either laugh and go is that all? Or they go wow – state employees make so much money.

    There’s no winning that game ;).

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