(SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATES including district briefing, union updates, events Tuesday)
2 PM: Day 4 of the Seattle Education Association strike against Seattle Public Schools. The newest developments:
MARCHING TO SODO: Dozens of strikers left the Chief Sealth/Denny vicinity around 12:30 pm, marching to school district headquarters at the John Stanford Center in SODO.
(Mouse over that image to bring up “play” button for the Instagram video clip.) We caught up with them early on, as they headed northbound on Delridge from Thistle toward the bridge. (added) A moment after we published this, we heard scanner traffic indicating police are tracking the march, which has just crossed the “low bridge.”
@westseattleblog WS Schools march to SPS headquarters crosses Spokane St. Bridge #SPSstrike #SeattleEA #PicketPix pic.twitter.com/OzEocAXCIZ
— Laurence Graham (@la_graham) September 14, 2015
We had seen one car in the early blocks – near the Southwest Precinct at Delridge/Webster.
OTHER PICKETING: We took a quick look around after covering the start of the march.
Another group of picketers from multiple West Seattle schools is spread out among multiple corners at 35th and Thistle (above), a few blocks west of Sealth/Denny.
In The Admiral District, there are two groups – outside West Seattle High School (above), and outside Lafayette Elementary. (While all schools had picketers this morning, some consolidated for the afternoon events.)
CITY’S DROP-IN CHILD CARE: Thanks to helpful commenter MercyMoi, we have this link showing which programs still have room as of today – in this area, Delridge, High Point, and South Park. (We had asked Seattle Parks for updated info, too.)
NEGOTIATIONS RESUME; DISTRICT BRIEFING AT 3: In the late morning, the union announced that negotiations would resume this afternoon. The district, meantime, is having another 3 pm media briefing; we will be there and will update this report with as-it-happens toplines.
3:05 PM – FROM DISTRICT HQ BRIEFING: We’re at the 3 pm media briefing at district headquarters in SODO, which started a few minutes late while awaiting a crew that got stuck behind a train.
(Added: Unedited WSB video of briefing)
“Late last night, SEA presented a new idea to the district. The SPS bargaining team is studying this closely … and we expect a response back to SEA today.” NO SCHOOL TOMORROW, though. Because of the strike’s length, spokesperson Stacy Howard says, there’ll be some turnaround time whenever the strike finally ends (later, she elaborates that they don’t know how much time that would be, but “parents shouldn’t be surprised if we get word of a tentative agreement but we can’t restart just 12 hours later” – food service and other logistics are part of the reason for that). She is discussing a few other points such as special education – the topic of a demonstration here earlier in the day. As for “the strike impacts on the calendar” – the three snow days on the calendar will be used, for starters, one midyear, two at the end of the school year – “all additional makeup days” will be determined once the strike is over. Possible ideas: Saturdays, and/or part of the mid-winter break (which was scheduled for five days this year – alternating years have shorter breaks). Re: graduation days – Seniors are required to be in school 175 days before graduation, so graduation dates might have to change. SPORTS: As reported here yesterday, middle-school athletic events are postponed. High-school practices and games “continue to go on as usual – a lot of those employees are in different unions or not in unions at all,” says Howard. She says that by the time this news conference is over, the district expects to have a “timeline” posted online from negotiations to date. Asked how the strike is affecting other employees, she said, “Everybody’s in a holding pattern, and everyone’s being impacted …” district-wide. We asked exactly when negotiations had resumed today; Howard couldn’t say, only that the district team is “expect(ing) to respond to” the union’s offer. Meantime, apparently some union reps tried to attend press briefing and were told they couldn’t; the district has been saying for days that briefings required media credentials (which we have but have not to date been asked at door to show). Asked about this today, Howard cited reasons including security. (3:20 pm) Briefing is over; we’ll upload and add video, as usual, once back at HQ.
4:02 PM: Before leaving district HQ, we spoke briefly with union spokesperson Rich Wood outside, during what he said was the first picketing at John Stanford Center since the strike began:
Rich Wood of @seattleea tells us outside district HQ that the two sides ARE talking right now #spsstrike pic.twitter.com/gZdpeMeOJ1
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) September 14, 2015
That’s about all he could confirm. (added) By the way, here’s video of the picketers as they arrived – the marchers from Denny/Sealth:
Meanwhile, the district’s timeline of when proposals/counterproposals were made, mentioned by Howard in the briefing, is now online here.
5:48 PM: Someone asked in earlier coverage what Mayor Murray was doing about the strike. His office just sent this news release:
Today, Mayor Ed Murray released the following statement after meeting with Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland and Seattle Education Association President Jonathan Knapp to get an update on the latest surrounding negotiations:
“At my request, both Superintendent Nyland and SEA President Knapp agreed to meet with me separately today. In these conversations I reiterated my offer to help in any way possible. I urged all parties to continue negotiations in good faith to reach a fair agreement ending the strike and allowing the school year to begin as soon as possible.
“As I’ve said since the strike began, I stand ready to assist should my help be requested. I also asked that, should the strike continue, they again meet with me at the end of the week. In the meantime, the City remains committed to doing what it can to support families impacted by the strike.”
The mayor’s news release ended with a reiteration of the community-center drop-in programs, which we updated earlier in this report. Earlier in the day, the City Council passed a resolution designating this as Seattle Educators’ Week; it addresses both the strike and the state education-funding crisis.
7:57 PM: An e-mail update from the union to media a short time ago says negotiations are still under way: “It’s unknown how long negotiations will go tonight, but SEA bargainers are willing to work as long as it takes to get a tentative agreement.” We also have heard from a coalition of educators that they plan a “candlelight vigil” at West Seattle High School 7-9 pm tomorrow (Tuesday night) if this isn’t resolved by then. (added) We first mentioned this a few days ago – a message we received tonight says this support march downtown is still planned tomorrow morning, too.
TUESDAY, 7:10 AM: The union says talks went all night and are still going.
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