SCHOOL STRIKE UPDATE: Talks continue Sunday; district says it’s ‘presented a new offer’

Just in, the first update of the day from either side in the Seattle Education Association / Seattle Public Schools negotiations, which resumed today for the first time since SEA went on strike Wednesday. This update is from the district:

The SPS and SEA bargaining teams resumed negotiations today.

The district presented a new offer today that added funds specifically designed to address the 20-minute addition in the student day (grades K-12).

Negotiations are scheduled to resume tomorrow.

The district continues to be ready to continue bargaining so that school can begin for our 53,000 students. The district will provide updates as they become available.

SEA has confirmed via text message that talks resume tomorrow. We had asked via e-mail if they had any further comment to characterize today’s talks; so far, they have not.

EARLIER: Four hours before this update, we published a recap roundup of where things stood going into today’s talk, plus various strike-related notes; see it here if you haven’t already.

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: The district is having a media briefing at 3 pm. So it’s a good bet we’ll hear then about the plan for tomorrow.

40 Replies to "SCHOOL STRIKE UPDATE: Talks continue Sunday; district says it's 'presented a new offer'"

  • DP September 12, 2015 (6:55 pm)

    I’ll cross this over from the earlier posting:
    I am an SPS employee, and an SEA member. I have it on good authority that SPS showed up hours late to the bargaining table, today.

  • Beachdude September 12, 2015 (7:26 pm)

    I heard the same thing from folks on the bargaining team…. So discouraging…. So disrespectful!

  • SPSTeacher September 12, 2015 (7:33 pm)

    I am an SPS employee, and SEA member. I have it on very good authority that the SEA was scheduled to meet at 9 this morning (also verified by the post on save Seattle schools) to “strategize”. They called the SPS team in around noon when they were ready to begin bargaining, at which time the SPS team gathered and then presented SEA with their newest proposal. Devisive rumors need to stop.

  • dale September 12, 2015 (7:53 pm)

    School starts next month. I feel sorry for the high school seniors.

  • Concerned parent September 12, 2015 (7:59 pm)

    No rumors, no finger pointing. Just get it done.

  • DP September 12, 2015 (8:18 pm)

    @SPSTeacher – are you on the bargaining team?

  • david September 12, 2015 (8:21 pm)

    I’ll cross this over as well as I feel it is a very important read and fact that there is a teacher shortage across our nation!

    Guess what country does not have a teacher shortage, and who’s teachers get paid quite a bit above living wage, and who’s students have the highest rate of college enrollment…

  • Fed Up September 12, 2015 (9:13 pm)

    Yes, just get it done! How long do our kids need to pay for this??
    Thank you West Seattle Blog for following this so closely. It’s been difficult to get up to date information anywhere else.

  • SPSTeacher September 12, 2015 (10:02 pm)

    @DP. I am not on the team but my partner is. The plan of how the day would go is posted by a SEA bargaining team member on saveseattleschools. (I can’t copy and paste on my phone. Sorry). Sounds like that is exactly what happened.

  • WS parent September 12, 2015 (10:14 pm)

    Stay strong teachers. As parents we want this for our kids. We know the truth, if we are going to fix a broken system it starts here and it’s not an overnight process. My kids are not suffering, they are proud of you and grateful that someone us finally speaking up for them.

  • Joey September 12, 2015 (10:29 pm)

    Just get back to work. My kids are asking why they can’t go to school. Negotiate while you teach if its “all about the kids”!

  • GlennS September 12, 2015 (10:51 pm)

    The “just do it” attitude is how our teachers get screwed year after year, and why we lose the best ones. Not standing up to bullies with official titles is why we can’t have nice things.

    Stand tall, SEA.

  • wb September 12, 2015 (11:00 pm)

    @Joey- you have a wonderful opportunity to explain to your children about labor and the power of striking and what it means to earn a living wage. Don’t waste it.

  • Community Member September 12, 2015 (11:13 pm)

    I don’t expect anyone to work without a contract, ever.
    @Joey – there are probably places in your life when you expected to agree upon a contract before making a major commitment, such as when you bought a house, signed a lease, got a car loan. Would you have gone ahead with those commitments, while you were in disagreement with the lender, landlord, etc?
    Teaching is somewhat different from other professions, in that the teachers actually have a contract to teach for the school year. It’s not day-to-day employment like working in a grocery store.

  • Enough September 12, 2015 (11:55 pm)

    Time to home-school!

  • Mike September 13, 2015 (12:10 am)

    Joey, as ‘wb’ mentioned this is a great opportunity to explain labor laws and how public employees are not provided the same rights to strike as non public employees. You can also talk to them about how our judicial system works and what judges can do with the power they hold, like fines and/or jail for those in contempt of court order. I think it’s a fantastic time to teach our children about how we’re provided numerous freedoms, but must also adhere to rules so that it does not adversely impact the lives of others to benefit a select few. Be sure to mention the system can be changed, but people need to put forth the effort to enact that change through legislation and not just throwing a hissy fit.

  • Community Member September 13, 2015 (12:54 am)

    But it’s not so clear-cut, Mike. So the strike isn’t “protected” – what does that mean exactly? Basically it means that SPS could legally fire all 5000 striking teachers, and attempt to replace them by hiring on the open job market. Of course, various laws would still require that almost all of the new hires are educated, trained, certificated, etc, so this would be a difficult course of action for SPS.
    Or – it could mean that a court could order the teachers to open their classrooms and teach. Teachers could comply and happily put in 40-hour work weeks. But no court will ever order the teachers to continue to plan lessons, grade papers, etc, or continue other job-related activities during their evenings and weekends. So this would also be a difficult course of action for SPS.

  • Community Member September 13, 2015 (1:05 am)

    At the education job fair in Tacoma last spring, most of the Tacoma Dome was filled with school districts from Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, South Dakota, rural areas of Washington, many offering contracts on the spot to STEM teachers, Spec Ed teachers, ELL teachers and other specialists. Seattle hasn’t really had to deal with any teacher shortage simply because this is where the teachers graduate from UW, SU, SPU, and Northwest University.
    Individual teachers may be reluctant to move, but if teachers can improve their economic situation and professional satisfaction by moving, of course more and more teachers will chose that option. And keep in mind, STEM teachers typically have employment options in industry as well.
    In yesterday’s discussion thread, someone was comparing teacher pay to median income. A more reasonable comparison might be teacher pay versus other professionals earning a Masters from UW.

  • Mike September 13, 2015 (1:32 am)

    I’m just going to watch the train wreck that is humanity. Why put effort into fixing the problem when both sides just want to crap on those that they are supposed to provide quality education for? Both sides make me sick, pathetic bunch they are.

  • Seatowndude September 13, 2015 (6:37 am)

    Initially my gut reaction was anger at the teachers…by really after seeing those slick mealy mouth Seattle school admin folks talking about it on the news smerking “it’s a competitive package…” I fully blame the lame duck school admin team…
    They arw the ones holding this up and trying to point the finger at the teachers…
    I want to know how much those administrators make that were on tv in comparison to the actual people who do the work…
    Also I wanted to be mad at the teachers but when I drove by them at Roxbury I could do nothing but remember the teachers who helped me growing up, think about all the precious children that need them right now and only felt too things about them…
    Yes even a semi old man can change his thoughts…i must have had some good teachers that taught me that:)

  • Melissa September 13, 2015 (7:48 am)

    Awwww, Seatowndude, you made me tear up a little! Thank you for your thoughtfulness and words of kindness towards teachers. The attempt to paint them as venal, greedy, selfish creeps makes me so angry and sad, simultaneously. That’s not why people teach. That’s not why I taught. I taught because I love kids. And I left because I wasn’t able to devote enough time to those kids because I had to deal with ridiculous administrative crap. And because I saw my own kids far too little.

    I’m with these folks every step of the way.

  • Community Member September 13, 2015 (8:03 am)

    @Mike – you seriously believe that both sides just want to crap on the students? How can anyone believe that?
    Both sides believe in education. They have different views on how best to serve students in a long term, tenable manner.

  • david September 13, 2015 (8:29 am)

    People need to start calling their republicon state legislatures who are really to blame for all this mess. they are the ones holding our kids hostage.
    they are laughing at us divide and conquer foremost on their minds on how to bust up unions and provide their corporate bosses cheap labor.
    while you’re at it give that want-a-b republicon governor call as well.
    free market trickle down – HA

  • Public School Advocate September 13, 2015 (8:40 am)

    Here are a few things that were clarified for me yesterday after talking with some Seattle teachers I know:
    1) The 18% salary increase (over 3 years) the SEA is asking for is ONLY for the portion of their pay that comes from the district. Approx. 25% of a Seattle teacher’s total pay comes from the district. So if a teacher is making $60,000 – $45,000 comes from the state, $15,000 comes from the district. The 18% would only be applied to the $15,000 which breaks down to $225 per/month.
    2) Seattle is the ONLY district in the state where student growth is tied to compensation.
    3) We have no teacher tenure in our state. There are two types of teaching contracts — provisional and continuing. There are very explicit steps outlined by the state for handling nonrenewals for both types of contracts. For a continuing contract, it takes 2 years of evaluations below a certain threshold and lots of documentation not to renew a contract. Since it requires a lot of work on the part of the principal to document, not all principals choose this route.

  • Hopeful September 13, 2015 (8:42 am)

    Hey WSB – thanks for everything! The district offers SEA a new proposal yesterday – what’s their counter offer? Do they have one? Thanks for all the updates. How fast can a vote take place and things get rolling again once a tentative agreement happens. Is there hope for school tomorrow or are we looking at probably Tuesday or Wednesday at the very earliest.

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (8:58 am)

      @Hopeful, SEA has not publicly announced any details of their response, if any, only that talks are indeed resuming today. And the district did not set any particular cutoff time for announcing whether school’s on or off for tomorrow (it was asked at the most recent media briefing, the one on Friday) – logistically (for them as well as for parents), they have to make the call at some point before it’s too far into the evening, at the very least. As for a vote, that’s a good question. I believe the union has a rule that they have to have 72 hours between an agreement and a vote so that it can be reviewed by all BUT in covering news all these years, I seem to recall many cases where word of the tentative agreement would be good enough for members to return to work, BEFORE a vote. – TR

  • Gabby September 13, 2015 (9:00 am)

    @Hopeful no one has any idea how SEA will respond – negotiations resume today and those are held in private.

  • Public School Teacher September 13, 2015 (9:03 am)

    Finger pointing and rumors are the result of SPS being manipulative and secretive.
    Rumor: Dr. Nyland directed Principals at a meeting on Friday to de-unify the community – to turn parents against teachers.
    Fact: At my school community events (off school grounds at a public park) were cancelled for weather, but the day was sunny and nice. The Principal at my school sent an email to parents suggesting that SEA hasn’t been showing up to negotiations, when in fact it is the other way around.
    This will only increase distrust between teachers and their supervisors. How can a school be effective if the two main parties running the ship are fighting against each other?
    Additionally, talented, good-hearted people are hearing “avoid a career in public education!”

  • Mrs.T September 13, 2015 (9:15 am)

    Teachers: If you do not come up with a satisfactory agreement today, my children and I will once again be joining you on the picket lines Monday. I thank you for providing my kids with this extremely valuable lesson in civics, fairness, and social responsibility. Stay strong!

    Fellow parents: Stay strong! Don’t forget that it is primarily our job as parents to educate our children and we are lucky to be partnered with publicly funded teachers who take on a huge portion of that responsibility for us. Teachers ARE on our side. Do not let any narrative distract you from that indisputable fact. If you can, at all I URGE YOU to join a picket line at any school on Monday and beyond if this continues.

  • joel September 13, 2015 (9:25 am)

    putting the kid in the car and heading down the coast. she’ll learn more from the nature she sees than from this mess. we’ll see if they got this mess fixed when we get back. if she misses some school…well what’s the point…she just missed the past 3 days.

  • me September 13, 2015 (10:59 am)

    That sounds like fun Joel.

    I home schooled my son and we did stuff like that all the time, plus a huge amount of reading – that was about all we did – he passed the GED and got a scholarship to college at age 15!

  • GOP in WS September 13, 2015 (11:13 am)

    When will they announce the cancellation of Monday classes?

    • WSB September 13, 2015 (11:39 am)

      GOP, the district is having a media briefing at 3 pm today so I’m guessing we’ll hear something then.

  • DP September 13, 2015 (11:38 am)

    Have any parents received e-mails similar to what is described in Public School Teacher’s claim from the principal of their child’s school?

  • Marianne September 13, 2015 (12:01 pm)

    Hopeful and WSB- Teachers will go back to work once a tentative agreement is reached. A meeting will be called at that time so members may vote. At the last general membership meeting, a proposal was put out that membership needed to vote on the tentative agreement first before heading back to work. It did not pass.

  • fcjbb September 13, 2015 (12:08 pm)

    Hopefully this won’t stretch out as far as the 1980’s strike where the kids ended up going to school until late July. I think it’s criminal to hold kids hostage like that. I understand the point of a living wage — been through the struggle myself albeit without striking. There are other ways than holding people hostage, not just kids but families that cannot afford to take time off work on a whim.

    I support the teachers but at the same time I want to see a huge improvement from last year without holding the families hostage again at the end of this school year.

    This is particularly bad for 12th graders that had hopes of going to college in Fall 2016. The system is broken — does the legislature have the power to force local universities to accept the local students that are being let down by this strike, I think not.

    Best start saving for private school to ensure that my child gets through middle & high school without being let down by the state. One thing that will hurt every child is the threat that they will have to repeat the grade they are supposed to enter. My child has already asked me if we could home school so that she doesn’t get left behind.

    Good Luck to You Teacher’s and let’s hope that there is a resolution to the disagreements holding up the start of 2015/2016.

    Ps. My child is starting a program in early July 2016, the school district and the state better support us in completing the assigned program as well as finishing public school without and ‘silly’ penalties to my child for persuing her goals.

  • Rope September 13, 2015 (12:55 pm)

    When my daughter, who is a strong Math student, graduated with a degree in teaching she researched her options. Seattle fell off her list immediately. The cost of living was too high, the salaries too low, the benefits package was weak, and support for teachers was questionable. Districts in Snohomish County offered better hours, wages, and working conditions. She ultimately chose to move to a “right to work” state. It provided for teachers and students in ways our “blue state” fails to do. After five years of comparing notes with friends who are teaching in Washington my daughter regards her decision as one of the best ones she’s ever made.

  • Fed Up September 13, 2015 (1:52 pm)

    @DP my child goes to John Hay and we’ve received no such communication. In fact, we actually received the opposite – an email from a member of the school staff with a tone that supported SEA and the striking teachers. An email I disagreed with by the way. I don’t think either side should be trying to sway families, and that we should educate ourselves instead.

    @Fcjbb I completely agree. This entire thing is a total disservice to families. To those families who aren’t inconvenienced by this – good for you. Count your blessings. The city opened 3,000 spots in community centers to help provide child care during the strike, but that’s not enough when there are 53,000 kids impacted.

    I get that teachers need a contract, and it’s a complicated situation. If you ask me parents need a contract as well. We are penalized, and risk criminal charges if our children miss school. Yet the staff can miss and families just have to deal with it? We need a commitment from both SPS and SEA that prevents these negotiations from going on so close to the start of the school year. Maybe we parents would go on strike and keep our kids home when school actually starts. That won’t happen though, because unlike the adults who are in control right now WE actually care about the children.

  • Community Member September 13, 2015 (3:07 pm)

    Some information about when negotiations typically happen, and why:
    During the school year, the teachers are teaching and administrators are running the schools. That’s why the contract gets negotiated in the summer.
    This doesn’t always imply any sort of crisis. Highline District, for example, had a union meeting on August 31, at which time the teachers voted to approve the contract. Classes started Sept 3. I think that’s a normal sequence of events.

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