STRIKE IS ON: As-it-happened updates from Seattle Public Schools HQ as union announces strike, followed by board authorizing staff to take legal action

(TOPLINES: At 6:19 pm, we reported the union says it’s striking tomorrow; scroll down for that and later updates)

5:25 PM: We’re at Seattle Public Schools HQ downtown, the center of activity on this evening before either a Seattle Education Association strike or the start of SPS classes. First – the union says staffers at some schools walked out this afternoon “in solidarity” – we received this photo from Gatewood Elementary:

At HQ, we’ve received the text of the resolution the School Board is to consider, after a closed session shortly after the scheduled 5:30 pm start of a special meeting. We’ll link it here as soon as we find it online.

5:37 PM: The board has convened, taken roll, said the Pledge of Allegiance, then immediately left its chambers to go into closed-door session, expecting to be back at 6:25 pm. Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland wasn’t here yet – said to be stuck in traffic. Here meantime is the aforementioned document, with the resolution attached; we’ll embed it here shortly.

6:06 PM: Here’s the resolution, at the end of this document:

6:19 PM: Seattle Education Association bargainers have just walked into the board chambers and announced THE STRIKE IS ON – no deal, and talks have ended for the night. A large group has announced that the district made its most-recent offer 20 minutes ago. (Added: Our phone video with about a minute from the announcement:)

Union leaders are telling parents, call the district and tell it to “get serious.” This is all happening while the board continues its closed-door meeting steps away, expected to emerge and decide whether to authorize district leadership to pursue legal action in case of a strike, which we now know will happen. Picketing, the union says, will start (updated) at 8:30 am. If the district goes to court, the union says, it’ll ask members what they want to do – and they expect members would vote to defy the order, as Pasco teachers did. “We want competitive pay,” the union bargainers are saying. “Equity issues, reasonable testing issues, fair evaluations” are other issues that remain outstanding, they’re telling reporters. SEA’s bargaining chair and vice president Phyllis Campano is who’s been speaking.

6:29 PM: The board is now back in session and voting on the resolution shortly. Some hissing from the audience as a staffer reads the resolution components – including the authorization to close facilities if necessary – to the board. One component of the resolution is a suspension of regular board meetings – so if it passes, tomorrow night’s regular board meeting would be postponed indefinitely. There is a suggestion that if this resolution isn’t passed, the strike could go on for a long time. West Seattle’s school board member Marty McLaren says she is “devastated” to hear that school won’t start tomorrow. Director Sue Peters says it’s “her hope” that an agreement can still be reached soon: “There are many important components to this resolution that I do support, but not #5 – authorization of legal action,” so she’s not supporting the resolution. Board president Sherry Carr says the “#1 priority” is an agreement that works for both sides: “This is the textbook case of what results from a profoundly broken K=12 funding mechanism in Washington state.”

6:39 PM: Roll call: Betty Patu abstains. Peters votes no. All others vote yes. The resolution passes, and that authorizes the district to take legal action against the union, among other things. “SHAME ON YOU!” yell several in the audience. And a few minutes later, as the board members leave, some shout “Thank you, Sue Peters.”

Bottom line as of right now:

*Seattle Education Association says it’ll be out on strike tomorrow
*Union bargainers said no time/date set for talks to continue
*School Board has voted to give staff authorization to take legal action and other actions mentioned in the resolution (above) that just passed 5-1-1

There will certainly be more information from both sides as the night goes on and we’ll update, but for now, the board meeting is over and we’re headed back to West Seattle.

SIDE NOTE: For those still seeking child care – Seattle Parks says that while Hiawatha Community Center is at capacity, Alki, Delridge, High Point, and South Park community centers have some space for kids 5-12 already enrolled in before/after-school care there. See the original announcement here.

8:11 PM: In the ensuing two hours, both sides have confirmed the strike in tweets – no long statements yet. (Here’s what the district said.) Meantime, as you might have seen in comments, parents say they’ll be out supporting picketing teachers tomorrow.

9:30 PM: And now the news releases from both sides. From the Seattle Education Association:

More than 5,000 Seattle teachers and paraprofessionals will be on strike Sept. 9, the scheduled first day of school.

Picket lines will begin at 8:30 am Wednesday at every one of Seattle’s 97 public schools.

It is the first contract-related strike by the Seattle Education Association since 1985. Seattle is Washington’s largest school district.

Contract negotiations continued until about 6 pm Monday. On Sept. 3, SEA members voted unanimously to strike if the Seattle School Board failed to negotiate a tentative contract agreement by the start of school.

While negotiations began in May, major unresolved issues haven’t changed:

*Professional pay: We need to attract and keep caring, qualified educators in Seattle, which is one of the most expensive cities in the United States. We’ve gone six years with no state COLA and five years with no state increase in funding for educator health care.

*Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Educators should be evaluated fairly and consistently, and the focus should be on providing the support all educators need to be successful.

*Reasonable testing: Too much standardized testing is stealing time away from classroom learning.

*Educator workload relief: Current workloads mean many students aren’t getting the help they need.

*Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap: We need to focus on equity issues in every school, not just some.

*The administration’s proposal to make teachers work more for free: It is unrealistic to expect teachers to work more hours without additional pay, and the district administration has been unable to explain how their proposal would help students.

SEA represents about 5,000 teachers, instructional assistants, paraprofessionals, nurses, counselors, substitute teachers and office professionals who educate 52,000 students in the Seattle School District.

Teachers in Pasco, WA also are on strike.

Here’s the district news release:

Seattle Public Schools’ teachers have declared a strike against the district, effective at midnight September 9, 2015. There will be no school tomorrow, the originally scheduled first day of school. A collective bargaining agreement could not be reached.

Seattle Education Association (SEA), the union that represents the district’s educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals notified Superintendent Larry Nyland and the School Board by letter earlier tonight. The notification of intent to strike, was made prior to the Board’s decision to approve a resolution that would allow appropriate legal action. This allows the superintendent to take necessary action he deems appropriate to protect and serve the district’s interests should there be a strike.

Mediators were brought in to assist with the negotiation process last week. The two sides held bargaining sessions throughout the day today. After a brief break, SEA informed the district talks had concluded for the night and announced their intent to strike. The district’s bargaining team has made themselves available to meet with SEA’s bargaining team at any time.

The district has partnered with the City of Seattle on child care options including Seattle Parks and Recreation and some SPS daycares will remain open.

SPS and SEA have the same shared goal of providing a quality education for our 53,000 students. The district is hopeful for a swift resolution and those students can start their school year soon.

Bargaining updates and information including child care options can be found on the SPS website.

Also: Just received word that tomorrow night’s 34th District Democrats meeting (7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy) will start with an update from the union’s bargaining leader, who’s seen in our video above.

108 Replies to "STRIKE IS ON: As-it-happened updates from Seattle Public Schools HQ as union announces strike, followed by board authorizing staff to take legal action"

  • MercyMoi September 8, 2015 (5:31 pm)

    Thank you for reporting on site, WSB!

    Waiting on pins and needles…

    • WSB September 8, 2015 (5:47 pm)

      The board is expected back around 6:25. We will also add *related* updates – for example, Seattle Parks has announced that some West Seattle community centers have child-care room, so I’m adding that.

  • Suzanne September 8, 2015 (5:55 pm)

    I really appreciate the timely updates, Tracy, especially given the relative silence of other news sources today.

  • Ms. A September 8, 2015 (6:01 pm)

    Schmitz Park has started a Facebook group: Support Schmitz Park Educators for information on how to support teachers! Parents and friends of SP, please join!

  • Paul September 8, 2015 (6:02 pm)

    Let’s spend our tax money on teachers not lawyers. Shame on you SPS.

  • Get a clue September 8, 2015 (6:04 pm)

    I’ve starting to get a better idea of what’s going on here. The union and the school district are both selling huge packs of lies. I support none of these bad actors.

  • WSMama September 8, 2015 (6:14 pm)

    Maybe I’m having a blonde day, but what does the resolution document say? Are they striking or not?

    • WSB September 8, 2015 (6:19 pm)

      WSMama, just announced as I was typing this, STRIKE IS ON.

  • GOP in WS September 8, 2015 (6:16 pm)

    As a taxpayer, I agree with the Times editorial that the union is demanding too much.

  • Heidi A September 8, 2015 (6:25 pm)

    quite a bit of irony in the Super not showing up on time

  • pagefive September 8, 2015 (6:26 pm)

    I heart you, WSB. Thank you for your coverage!

  • Dale September 8, 2015 (6:29 pm)

    Once again, WSB reports it first. Makes the rest of the media outlets in Seattle look lazy…

  • Susan September 8, 2015 (6:30 pm)

    A “blond day”? Nice WSMama. Love women like you who perpetuate anti-female stereotypes.

  • Mike September 8, 2015 (6:32 pm)

    Thanks WSB

  • RR September 8, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    We’re behind you teachers !The war on the working class in this country has got to stop!

  • Bryan September 8, 2015 (6:38 pm)

    The Endless Summer begins – if I were a kid I would be thrilled but now that I am a parent it is a bit more disappointing.
    Hope everyone gets what they want and gets this resolved soon.

  • Laura September 8, 2015 (6:41 pm)

    The Super showing up late is indicative of this whole crazy bargaining marathon. Poor leadership.

  • westseattledood September 8, 2015 (6:41 pm)

    I know this impacts folks in a big way, but good Lord people, these teachers have not had a pay raise in SIX YEARS!!! In this city?? Refusing better pay for this group is an insult to anyone with half a brain – except for that GOP in WS entity up there ^^. Exceptions for every rule, ya’ know.

    I do not even have children in schools and I think this is a royal burn, not to mention that it drives good teachers away! What are district people thinking? Give them and the kids a break.

    If the school district could not figure it out before, they are going to have to figure it out now with all due alacrity.

    I support the basis for this strike 110%. Good luck everybody.

  • Ivan September 8, 2015 (6:42 pm)

    Bye-bye, Marty.

  • K. September 8, 2015 (6:52 pm)

    Hello, Leslie!

  • b town viking September 8, 2015 (6:52 pm)

    Get a clue. The union is what gives employees a voice and the right to ask for fair wages, benefits, pensions etc. So why do you take your anger out on an employer that doesn’t pay their workers a livable wage. #come on brah

  • K. September 8, 2015 (6:52 pm)

    Hello, Leslie.

  • Jason September 8, 2015 (6:55 pm)

    Right on Ivan . Enjoy your retirement Marty, you were a waste of my vote the first time.

  • Wsparent September 8, 2015 (6:58 pm)

    There is a teacher shortage– my sister is a teacher and she said her school had an opening for a special education teacher and not one person applied. She is in a progressive district that really listens to the teacher’s concerns and not one teacher applied. There are not enough substitutes to fill the job openings when teachers are sick. The raise is about attracting and keeping teachers in Seattle. I stand with the teachers.

  • Heidi A September 8, 2015 (6:59 pm)

    Marty, we will remember that you voted to support a resolution to intimidate our teachers and disrespect them with the statement that harm is being caused by SEA action – as if the district doesn’t have responsibility here. This just made thing ugly; an unnecessary threat of litigation isn’t going to foster a peaceful resolution.

  • Paul September 8, 2015 (6:59 pm)

    I know Holy Rosary (all are welcomed) has a few open spots in K-8 that they are still enrolling for. It’s a wonderful community.

  • Measured on Alki September 8, 2015 (7:08 pm)

    Let’s not forget:
    *SPS showed little interest in the early stages of bargaining, way back in May…. Often not showing up for meetings.
    *SPS didn’t propose the BIG, controversial issues until the week before the union was scheduled to meet with its members. That’s subversive and non-collaborative… Something as big as extending the school day should be discussed publicly, seeking input from stake holders months in advance.
    *The SPS rejected nearly ALL of the union’s proposals… While NEVER proposing early compromises. It has been clear from the start that they do not hold much interest in moving forward. Pushing things to the final moment has been a strategic move on the part of the SPS.
    *For several years now, the SPS has promised they would greatly improve compensation when the state provided more money….. Well, this is the year for that to happen.
    The truth is, SPS has been very casual about working with the ENTIRE community…. Not just the teachers. They owe all of Seattle greater respect than they are exhibiting.

  • Mr. Teacher September 8, 2015 (7:10 pm)

    I have always believed that a West Seattle School District would make a LOT more sense. SPS is too big, too broken, and too unfocused.

    I hate that the media has portrayed this as a financial strike. There is so much more that we are standing up for.

    It’s time to stand up parents. See you on the lines!

  • David September 8, 2015 (7:12 pm)

    My kids just cried, shame on you School Board! Our teachers go underpaid and without appreciation from the Board. A large part of our decision to move here to WS was based on the school our children would attend, imagine our surprise when we found out their complete lack of benefits and pay for teachers. Shame on you!

    We love our teachers, and this family stands behind them!

  • CJ September 8, 2015 (7:12 pm)

    Am I understanding correctly that the board voted for a resolution to potentially seek legal remedies and postpone board meetings indefinitely? So they put the onus on someone else to do the dirty work and shielded themselves from scrutiny. How do I get that job?

  • gohawksboom September 8, 2015 (7:22 pm)

    Its all just political theater. Does anyone really think this district and the teachers union are in a true adversarial relationship? No way! This is all just drama designed to make us pressure the State of Wa to cough up more tax dollars for education/the teachers union. Don’t be fooled by all the sound and fury signifying nothing. Thumbs down to the WEA and SEA

  • WSres September 8, 2015 (7:22 pm)

    Can anyone clarify? I’ve read the state has not provided a Cola over past 6 years but also read SPS has provided increase of 5.5% over last 2? The compensation piece is confusing. Has there really been no wage increase over the past 6 years?

  • Not cool September 8, 2015 (7:23 pm)

    So what about the several hundred dollars of school supplies I had to purchase and drop off before my child could attend school this year? Seems both sides are greedy here, my tax dollars + supplies and here we are.

  • Azimuth September 8, 2015 (7:28 pm)

    As a taxpayer, getting the teachers to work twice as much for half the pay would be beneficial too. As a human and American, we deserve to ask for more than what we have been getting. Good for the teachers.

  • Mel September 8, 2015 (7:28 pm)

    As a former teacher and a parent of two West Seattle school aged children I support the teachers’ strike action 100%. If working people in this city don’t stand up for themselves who will?

  • Westside September 8, 2015 (7:31 pm)

    Marty, we hardly knew ye. Now that we do… Bye Felicia! You’re done.

  • Zark00 September 8, 2015 (7:32 pm)

    Superintendent Nyland
    (206) 252-0180

  • Ivan September 8, 2015 (7:39 pm)

    We can turn this board around in the November elections. Carr, Martin-Morris, and Peaslee are retiring, and McLaren will be defeated. Your votes for Leslie Harris, Jill Geary, Rick Burke, and Scott Pinkham will make the difference. Those four, along with holdovers Sue Peters and Betty Patu, will set the board back on the proper path.

  • Stringcheese September 8, 2015 (7:50 pm)

    i know that parents from STEM, Fairmount, Pathfinder, and SP will be out in front of their respective schools to show solidarity with our teachers. Please post if there are other school communities organizing!
    STEM has a SignUp Genius going for food/drink donations tomorrow.
    So, be sure to join if you can, wear red in solidarity, or even just honk your support as you drive by schools tomorrow.

  • me September 8, 2015 (7:54 pm)

    Endless summer, this will be nice for the kids but what about next summer?

    The school year was already ending really late, June 23, but now? What? Will they still be in school come July?

  • Lynn September 8, 2015 (7:54 pm)


    It’s an elected position not a job. (No wages though they get an auto allowance.)

    Yes, I too cannot wait to see Leslie Harris sworn in.

  • B September 8, 2015 (8:04 pm)

    wow. my son spends summer in (state) with me. after many tears and goodbyes to grandparents and friends we flew into sea-tac sunday so (name) would have a few nights to adjust to 3hr time difference and back-to-school mode/schedule. Im staying with him 8 nights as his seattle residing mother has to be out of town for a wedding. I wanted to be here to help him adjust for his 1st week back, rather than neighbors and baby sitters doing it on such an important week. Leaving (name) is hard enough without wondering where he’s sleeping when im gone. After a hotel, car, meals, etc…while taking off work (without pay) this week will cost $3,000. You’re telling me that we couldve stayed in (state)! where i have a job, house and car and ability to cook. where the kids started school 3 weeks ago. where (name) was happy as can be. wow. figure it out people. i dont care who’s to blame. if i voted it would be for me.)

  • jetcitydude September 8, 2015 (8:08 pm)

    Its for the kids?

  • HS Teacher September 8, 2015 (8:12 pm)

    The union IS asking for a lot, no doubt. BUT it is important to note and understand the pay raise is on BASE salary, not TOTAL salary. That gets ignored quite a bit. TRI and base pay make up total salary…and TRI is over 25% of current my pay. Additionally they are asking for an extra 30 min instruction in the high schools. Please don’t call it a 9% (on base, not total!) raise over the next 3 years when my student contact hours (and lesson plans) are going up by 10%. Thats losing ground, not a raise. And I’m not even started on other cost and expectations that have been added in the past 7 years, and how CROWDED the schools have gotten- more students, and seemingly less teachers than 7 years ago. I’d settle for same pay, same hours, and same amount of students, at this point.

  • Bookworm September 8, 2015 (8:13 pm)

    … Wait…. Marty was an SPS teacher for years, wasn’t she?
    Just how much of the SPS Kool-aid has she been drinking???
    SHAME on her for letting the kids down, and for running on the fuel of “I’ve been a teacher, trust me…”
    It’s time to clean the board room…. AGAIN.

  • Kimmy September 8, 2015 (8:16 pm)

    WSMama, as a blonde woman, I found your comment funny, and I’m sure some blond men may have as well. Hope this strike is resolved soon!

  • joel September 8, 2015 (8:17 pm)

    it always said it’s not about money…it’s about the kids. so what issues are left to resolve besides the money issue?

  • StringCheese September 8, 2015 (8:20 pm)

    I can think of no better way to support students than by supporting their teachers. Another parent who stands with our teachers. See you tomorrow on the picket lines!

  • Really! September 8, 2015 (8:20 pm)

    I would love to know who is the voice for the children? I see this district truly is about meeting the adults needs. SAD for all!

  • Ray September 8, 2015 (8:21 pm)

    It is always about the money. Do not let them say otherwise.

  • DP September 8, 2015 (8:29 pm)

    @joel – matters of equity, evaluations, and testing. Instruction time may still be unresolved.

  • Alice September 8, 2015 (8:38 pm)

    Definitely planning to use the power of the ballot at my earliest opportunity. Goodbye, Marty.

  • David September 8, 2015 (8:49 pm)

    After putting up with the Seattle Schools for 13 years I am happy to have put that friendship on hold just like some others – glad to be done with all of them

    • WSB September 8, 2015 (9:29 pm)

      While we’ve been out at another community meeting this past hour, both sides have sent their official news releases, so we’re adding those to the story above. No revelations but just so you can “hear” each in their own words. – TR

  • wseaparent September 8, 2015 (8:51 pm)

    I believe the ~25% salary increase in a three year period is insane and un-realistic, it translates to 8% increase every year, who even at private companies gets this? Not even Costco gives that (average is 3%) –
    Another point to make and please interject where appropriate, but Washington state school districts are funded by State taxes, grants and most importantly LOCAL LEVIES (refer to so is the 8% per year accounted in the budget? No , that means taxes (aka levies) will need to be increased?
    I know for a fact many teachers do not even live within Seattle limits. So do they really care that more taxes and levies could affect many families?
    Are they considering these points to make a decision:
    1. The fact that it creates a whole lot of problems to day to day lives of regular families
    2. The fact that their jobs are well paid for an average of 9 months of work every year
    3. That even in the private sector 8% raise is un-heard of
    4. The fact that many teachers are making CLOSE to $100,000 a year, yes one hundred thousand dollars!! (refer to

    I think their lack of commitment to the community to find common ground based on realistic demands show the type of teacher community we have here, it is unbelievable, depressing, and disheartening

  • Jack Carson September 8, 2015 (8:54 pm)

    I would like to know what the average teacher gets paid working for the SPS.

  • Measured on Alki September 8, 2015 (8:54 pm)

    Joel – Good question. The issues that REALLY affect kids are:
    *Testing – The SPS has formulated a high stakes testing schedule that completely overtakes day to day operations in schools. The kids are often scared, and at the very least, exhausted from the pressures and perceived consequences associated with them. The sheer number of tests given is staggering! These kids should NOT be “data generators” for the district.
    *Equity – SPS will not acknowledge that there is a problem with the “discipline environment” and how it varies from school to school. In our school, teachers were simply told (by administration…) to stop disciplining one “group” of minority students entirely, for fear of district or legal accusations and severe questioning…. So it was just easier to create a blanket policy to avoid dealing with the problem. The union desires setting up equity teams at each school to better determine issues, and equitable outcomes. This will also provide greater consistency of data and discipline throughout the district.
    *Student growth scores – the district wants students scores to be an integral part of a teacher’s evaluation. Sadly, this can force teachers to worry about themselves instead of the kids. They are put in the position of teaching to the tests, instead of working toward in dry problem solving and comprehension. These skills are far more important than just going for the scores. Teachers have always been looked upon to help parents with the wholistic needs (academic, emotional, developmental…) of each child in their classroom.

    …. So you see, there are many “kid issues” that teachers are honestly fighting for…. They care deeply about these children, and helping them to be healthy and happy. There are much more than just monetary issues at stake. Please support our teachers, and tell the district to step up and do what is best for kids…… After all, the SPS school board does NOT stand in front of these kids every day….. The teachers do.

  • HappyOnAlki September 8, 2015 (8:57 pm)

    I stand with the teachers.

  • (could be) B September 8, 2015 (8:59 pm)

    for us happy loving couples who didnt make it. we dont want our spring breaks/holidays and summers spent as make-up days-cause thats all we have to see our children! lets have the kids figure it out. honest and direct. adults ruin everything.

  • CanDo September 8, 2015 (9:08 pm)

    How dare Seattle teachers demand raises. I mean they start between $27K and $30K a year, most after taking on a large student loan debt, so they have plenty to live in Seattle… IN A BOX UNDER A BRIDGE!!!

    And so soon after our sports heroes are being given contracts for millions upon millions and we don’t bat an eye. What is wrong here? Our teachers need to at least earn enough to be able to afford to LIVE in the district in which they teach. How can they live in this City on their starting salaries? These are the people who educate our children, who teach them so much of the world and who are willing to even protect our little ones with their lives if needed.

    Are our teachers not at least as important as our football players?

  • Sick of it September 8, 2015 (9:13 pm)

    I’ll use a sick day for tomorrow’s strike. But what does this mean in terms of time frame? Do we wait until tomorrow evening again to see if school opens the next day? Did the union or school people say anything about this or is school out for the rest of the week?

  • Wsparent September 8, 2015 (9:14 pm)

    I just looked this info up: seattle teachers ranks 3rd in average pay in washington state. Washington state teachers rank 39th in average pay compared to other states. That is not competative pay.

  • haven September 8, 2015 (9:23 pm)

    At the end of the day, its not good for kids not to be in school. They need to go back. The longer they are out, the worse its going to be. They need to be engaged, to see their friends and to learn. But the adults only care about themselves. As always, setting stellar examples, on both sides. Nice work guys…

  • Rope September 8, 2015 (9:36 pm)

    That the district seeks to settle this dispute in court instead of at the bargaining table is indicative of a lack of leadership, an absence of good faith, and a broken system. You don’t wait until August to introduce controversial proposals.You don’t pass the burden of unfunded mandates onto students and staff. You figure out a way to accomplish your shared mission together. Dr. Nyland replaced a superintendent in Marysville after a strike. He should understand that he has just shortened his tenure.

  • Anonymous September 8, 2015 (9:44 pm)

    huh, I work tons of extra hours each week on a fixed salary. I work on weekends and even on vacations sometimes. When I work someplace that I can no longer keep up with the demads I get a new job. They do great things but so do the rest of us and we dont walk off the job just cause we’re being asked to work extra. No one in my office is blindly handed a raise without doing there job and doing better than they did last year.

  • hope September 8, 2015 (9:45 pm)

    Nyland is a spin doctor. MacLaren should be ashamed. They both threw Middle College Highpoint to the curb and now they’re doing it to students and teachers.
    I support the teachers – they want to go to work. Ask one! But, equity, testing, fair evaluations and yes compensation matter!

  • LBM September 8, 2015 (9:53 pm)

    Please note all the work the Gatewood teachers are bringing home while on strike. Teachers do that every night. They want to be ready for students when they do come. They also deserve a fair contract.

  • PJFan September 8, 2015 (10:02 pm)

    It is very difficult to look up average teacher salaries in Washington State as you have to know what you are looking at – base pay versus base pay +additionally funded time (TRI), sometimes called a responsibility contract, which includes open house, exhibition nights, teacher conferences, graduation ceremonies,evaluation requirements, grading/report cards and other day-to-day responsibilities.

    When I worked in Lake Washington School District I had my base pay plus an extra 17 days of pay (which totaled several thousand dollars because I have been teaching for a long time and have a Masters +145 credits).

    In Seattle I receive 3 days of extra pay. Additionally, in the LWSD each November teachers receive $2,000 to count towards educational expenses, classroom supplies or extra time.

    I know a highly qualified special education teacher who is married to a highly qualified math teacher who live blocks away from the school where I now teach. I used to send them job opening announcements but they said that they would be taking a $10,000 pay cut if they came to work in Seattle.

    This is what we are losing out on.

  • Alex September 8, 2015 (10:02 pm)

    Yesterday, I ran by Gatewood school, my son’s school, at about 3 pm. There were almost a dozen cars in the parking lot. On Labor Day. On the eve of a strike. Nearly a dozen teachers were at work, setting up their classrooms for the first day of school. They don’t want to strike. They want to teach. And they want to be treated as professionals. They have my family’s support 100%. The district never took their demands seriously, and only called in a mediator on Friday. SEA had been trying to bargain for months. Go ahead, strike. We’ve got your backs teachers.

  • Son of a Teacher September 8, 2015 (10:03 pm)

    So 50-60 hour weeks, hundreds of thousands in student loan debts, several thousand dollars/year in extra personal expenses because the district won’t pony up for teaching supplies (books, pencils, instructional games, etc.), no raises, actually losing money yearly because of cost-of-living, getting daily crap from someone else’s kids and having to grin and bear it, treated like babysitters by the parents, treated like children by their management, & of course they have to work in a tiny portable box due to overcrowding with no central heat or A/C.
    Gosh, sounds like a dream job to me. I bet they have to beat the job applicants off with a stick.

    But there are people who are mad enough to apply anyway just because they love the work and want to be free to teach our children. If they can put up with all that abuse the least we can do is pay them a living wage and try to give them a more pleasant working environment.

    – A Seattle home owner & teacher’s son who votes yes on every one of the school-related levies that raises his own taxes.

  • WorriedMama September 8, 2015 (10:04 pm)

    This is so upsetting. My son was really looking forward to school tomorrow and was very excited. I’m doing my best to encourage him not to be angry about the adults who are striking and to be fair in thinking about the reasons for it. His dad and I don’t have enough paid time off available to cover school closure. And there are no childcare openings in any of the programs that serve our school. What an awful, sad mess for teachers, students and parents.

  • au September 8, 2015 (10:06 pm)

    wseaparent, you are grossly misinformed. read HS Teacher’s break down of proposed salary increase, it’s not remotely close to 25% In fact, with the added work hours its a decrease in pay, nice, huh?

    Thank you teachers for having the courage to stand up to this.

    Its about much more than money though.

    This will be an interesting history-in-the-making lesson.

    The school board and district need to do the right thing.

    Wish we could hold board elections early this time….

  • highline teacher September 8, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    Look at those teachers carrying work HOME to continue planning and prepping, regardless of the strike!

  • beef September 8, 2015 (10:08 pm)

    wseaparent – everything you say is not true.

    you didn’t even look at the lists of salaries on the page you linked.

    here is a link to teacher salaries for the 2014 school year.

    With a PhD and 15 yrs of service you can expect to make about $86k

    The 6% per year raise (not 8%) is only on the portion that Seattle pays, not the amount that SPS gets from the state, which is about 25% of their total salary.

    The 6% on the above example would get them an additional $1200/year or $100/month based on the supplemental contract (which SPS pays) amount of $20k. SPS wants to give them 2% or only $400/year or $33/month.

    There have been no COLAs over the last six years by the State. Their wages have fallen behind in this recession and recovery.

    Fortunately, you are in the minority on this site and in the City. Go Teachers!

  • Jack Carson September 8, 2015 (10:18 pm)

    I have seen here that teachers start at $27K to $30K a year but someone else states they can make up to $100K a year. What does the average SPS teacher get paid? They may be paid very well or they may not, but without knowing what the pay is it is hard to say if they are underpaid or very well paid. There seems to be too much spin from all sides

  • KBear September 8, 2015 (10:34 pm)

    Anonymous, I’m sorry you work uncompensated hours. That’s unfortunate. Don’t hold it against teachers. No good comes from pitting workers against each other.

  • MOVE! Seattle PLEASE! September 8, 2015 (10:38 pm)

    Why can’t the teacher’s teach while the contract continues to be worked out??? That is what other unions do – the workers work and the negotiating continues.
    Teacher’s are in public service careers. You don’t get to do what you want when you are a government employee – you provide a service for the public. And with an elected school board no less! Charter schools perhaps are more efficient without an elected school board but were declared unconstitutional because they don’t have an elected board.

  • theAdmiral September 8, 2015 (10:50 pm)

    The SPS flat-out lied about pay raises. What sort of voodoo math did they do to come up with that 20% figure? Teachers have gotten ZERO dollars in pay increases during the last SIX YEARS.

  • WS for life September 8, 2015 (10:51 pm)

    I am not a teacher nor do I have a child in the Seattle School District, but I 100% support their cause. Teachers put their whole heart into what they do each and every day. They spend their own money for supplies, work extra hours and are held to high standards. As a society we should praise these individuals and understand the position they are in. In order to keep quality individuals in these roles we need to show them that they are valued. If people are upset that they “Don’t have a place for their child to go” or “Teachers just need to suck it up” in regards to the strike please take a moment to step into their shoes and realize how much they endure each and every day. They should be praised instead of scrutinized. I am sure that most of you wouldn’t be so critical if you had a loved one in this fight.

  • theAdmiral September 8, 2015 (11:08 pm)

    My wife is a highly qualified science teacher who had to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get the required Master’s in Education degree, along with further unpaid student teaching and certifications, for the privilege of earning about $50k after ten years of continual service. And she works her butt off. Seriously. Every day you’re ON – at 7:45am! All day, non stop, 150 kids. Not a dollar of raise in the last six years. And you’re expected to run clubs, sports teams, school dances and events, for free. You get about a half-hour for lunch, and about 45 minutes outside of the classroom for planning and everything else. She works hours upon hours at home. And the absolute most she can ever hope to earn, if she got a PhD, would be about $85k. Never a bonus. Ever. Has to pay for teaching supplies out of pocket. How on earth do you expect to attract professionals with this kind of offer? Or do you want all our children taught by unskilled people who don’t care? How do you expect the next generation to compete if you don’t invest in their education? Even if YOU don’t have kids, you want America to succeed, right?
    You people opposed to the teachers are seriously out of touch. Maybe you had a hard time in school, and so now you hate on teachers?? Hmm??

  • B September 8, 2015 (11:10 pm)

    @MOVE! Seattle PLEASE! – I’m not sure of the details but without a contract it may mean the teachers won’t get paid, so that’s one reason not to work without a contract. Also, without the threat of a strike, what recourse does the union have?

  • D-Mom September 8, 2015 (11:23 pm)

    This isn’t just about teachers. Its also about teachers standing up for our kids. Some of the things they are requesting are more recess time, less testing and more adults supporting the classrooms. How is that bring greedy? And how is someone being greedy for asking for a raise when they haven’t received one in 6 years? It is important that we all stand with the teachers for the sake of the children and decent public schools. Also, its a shame that the board would rather take legal steps than to support our schools as they should be doing. The citizens of this city should be taking legal action against the board.

  • Jim September 8, 2015 (11:33 pm)

    Total compensation on the sites that have been linked here also include stipends and bonuses. Those may be in the form of National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT) bonus from the State, additional NBCT bonus for teaching at high needs schools, and extra service contracts for extra work performed. So when you see a 20 year veteran Elementary teacher with a Masters degree, pulling in some bank, that’s because he or she is earning it. As has been stated here, negotiations are for the base contract.

    My question about everyone one getting up in arms is, why did you let your state legislators withhold voter mandated teacher COLAs for the past 6 years.

    I’m willing to bet most people here wouldn’t want a career that you don’t get Vacation pay, don’t get holiday pay, only get paid for 183 days a year (instead of 264), and have 25% of your pay deferred off your cheques till summer.

  • Hannah September 9, 2015 (12:56 am)

    20 years ago there was the same strife and my single middle class mom sent me to holy rosary on to holy names at a great financial sacrifice
    Perhaps it would be wise for our leaders to understand why so many parents chose outside academic settings other than public
    It’s all a mess and the outcome measures for students for the most part are poor
    I have a appreciation for my private education
    Where teachers admin and parents put the student at the center and work together to problem solve
    As a second year law student I thank holy rosary holy names and my mom for the foresight to keep me out of the hot
    Mess of SPD

  • TeachersKid September 9, 2015 (1:08 am)

    As a daughter of 2 teachers & having been raised both in the USA as well as other countries, I can say no one decides to strike on a whim. As a kid, I wanted to live closer to my family in Seattle. My parents made it clear that our family could not afford it on 2 teacher’s salaries. I am still involved in education and most college graduates I meet apply for jobs in other districts, not even looking in Seattle even though they’ve done student teaching in the district. Every year this leads to numerous unfilled positions, where a substitute ends up filling in (if there are enough subs). The kids of Seattle deserve teachers & aides who can afford to live in their community, are experienced, and able to focus on providing an education, not just prepping for the next standardized assessment. The district needs to listen, I ask parents to please get involved, speak up for our kids! I stand with the teachers on this one.

  • MsD September 9, 2015 (2:28 am)

    I am a childless person so in theory have no skin in this game. I’m appalled at what teachers are expected to do for so little money. I have a friend who is an amazing teacher – I won’t even go into all the things he does for his students inside and outside the classroom. And he’s pretty much done, not because of the feral kids or even the messed up parents he deals with, but because of the SPS Administration. I work in the corporate world and will say that most of us are doing the work that used to be done by 2-3 people, but I’ve never had to go 6 years without a pay increase or deal with a customer on crack or who propositioned me for their kid to get a better grade. And if my current job gets to be too much to deal with and I want to stay in Seattle, I just start sending resumes out, and I can typically get another, better job in a matter of months. Teachers can’t do that. I support the teachers in this.

  • Teacher September 9, 2015 (6:42 am)

    As a teacher I couldn’t have put that better.
    The stress and anxiety that parents are feeling because of the strike is an example of what teachers deal with every day.
    There are so many problems with administration and with parents it’s ridiculous .
    Most teachers quit after three years because it’s such a crappy job .
    Even with the proposed salary increase it will still be very difficult to attract quality people .

  • Loubob September 9, 2015 (7:04 am)

    Two things:

    1. This is not political theater.
    2. Regardless of your opinion about the strike, please do what you can to lessen the impact on the kids in your community. Offer to babysit, or take them to the park, a movie, or to the library.

  • wseaparent September 9, 2015 (7:35 am)

    @beef – oh I am sorry it is down to 18% per year that is 6% every year – STILL go in this day and age gets 6% raise every year? can anyone tell me because i would LOVE to work there – also your link is obscure and misleading and a bureaucratic pamphlet, since my original link you had to click, obviously not something you want to do because it is too much work, here’s the more direct link

    I do believe many teachers deserve to get paid more, however again, it should be based on merit, who cares if someone has a PhD or masters, their pay increase should be base on performance – This is the way it is everywhere (that offers salary increases)

  • AmandaKH September 9, 2015 (8:07 am)

    @wseaparent – They are hiring, having trouble filling positions in fact. Good luck with your resume!
    My whole family was at that meeting last night, and I can tell you, when I walked out of there, I was fuming. The use of fear to manipulate parents into deflecting anger away from the Board and onto the Teachers is evil at best.
    These are the people who will teach your kids compassion and understanding – how to get along with their peers – how to be good people. Thank GOODNESS for Teachers, because with some of the comments on here, it proves the point that teachers are grossly underpaid and undervalued.
    We Stand With Our Teachers.

  • Ivan September 9, 2015 (8:13 am)

    @wseaparent, everything you advocate for teachers has been tried — and it has failed. Open the door to “merit” pay for teachers and you will have schools full of the principals’ little pets. Open the door to basing teacher pay and promotion on standardized tests, and you will have schools full of teachers teaching to the test. Maybe that’s fine for you, but most of us expect, and demand, more from the public education that our taxes are supporting.
    I support our teachers and their bargaining position, even though you don’t.

  • haven September 9, 2015 (8:17 am)

    When are there more talks scheduled? Are we really supposed to just sit and wonder when our children are going back to school? Would we sit and wonder if they were hurt or sick? Because schooling is a human right. And I don’t care who’s to blame, you are all selfish. Money doesn’t matter to kids. Selfish, selfish, adults. I never trusted the school district, but I don’t trust my teachers anymore either. OUR CHILDREN SHOULD BE IN SCHOOL. BOTTOM LINE.

    • WSB September 9, 2015 (9:01 am)

      Haven, there were no talks scheduled as of the SEA announcement at district HQ last night – they were asked that repeatedly – and I’ve checked with both sides & there’s no word of any yet, as of this morning. We will include updates in our Strike Day 1 coverage, which starts shortly – TR

  • soi September 9, 2015 (8:24 am)

    Checking in to see the latest news for tomorrow’s planning and read this first thing this morning “feral kids, customer on crack, so many problems with administration and parents it’s ridiculous….” Nice. As a parent who volunteered on my days off and wrote plenty of checks for school, this isn’t what I was expecting. Is this what you guys really think of kids and parents?

  • WS Teacher September 9, 2015 (8:25 am)

    @wseaparent A point of clarification: the 6% raise proposed is based off base salary, which is about 2/3 total salary. What that amounts to is about a 4.2% raise. That barely keeps up with inflation given the stagnant wages of the last several years. The district is offering what amounts to a 1.5% raise.

    However you wish it to be, merit pay for teachers is not the issue here. A fair contract, one that protects educators and students alike, is.

  • Gabby September 9, 2015 (8:44 am)

    I support these teachers 100% on every point they make in the SEA News Release. My child has been at an SPS elementary for 3 years and I’ve seen first-hand the long hours teachers work, the overcrowded classrooms, the special needs kids in inclusion without enough support, the shortening recess, the constant emphasis on testing.

    Yes it’s inconvenient. The strike is inconvenient. But I’ll take a little inconvenience if it means positive change. The path to positive change is almost always a bit inconvenient and uncomfortable. That’s just the way it works. The other tactics have not worked, maybe this will.

  • TrenchCoatGuy September 9, 2015 (8:48 am)

    I completely agree with the teachers. Seattle schools are severely underfunded. I’m surprised that teachers can even make a living out of teaching.

  • DandJ September 9, 2015 (8:51 am)

    Our son goes to WSH and football practice and games are still on normal schedule. I guess the coaches are working for free during this time or have they always worked for free during those hours? I’m a bit confused on how the athletic programs can and will continue regardless of teachers striking? Can someone enlighten me on that? Not complaining about it I think it’s great my kid can at least stay in a routine while his classes are on hold.

  • au September 9, 2015 (9:45 am)

    Thank You teachers for having the courage and the wherewithal to stand up for what’s best for our kids and for yourselves. Its not selfish rather its selfless.

    Sincerely, Parent of kids who have been thru and are in the Seattle schools.

  • Anonymous September 9, 2015 (9:46 am)

    KBear – I’ve worked in software industry for 20 years. Everyone knows its hard work and you are expected to “get the job done” I went into this industry knowing that there are times I have to travel, work long hours at the office or at home, answer emails and phone calls at all hours of the night or work on vacation with my family and not make a cent more then my offer letter said. Its just how it is and it will never change, but I’m ok with it cause I love my job. I don’t get a guaranteed raise every year and I have to fight to continue to stay on top of my industry otherwise someone younger and better will take my job. The students would be the real winners if teachers had the same things we in the private sector have to do to keep our jobs. We all have stress and anxiety in our jobs, it’s called working hard.

  • WS Teacher September 9, 2015 (10:13 am)

    @DandJ: Coaches aren’t covered under the contract. Even though many coaches are teachers or other school professionals, their positions as coaches are separate, which is why athletics is continuing as normal.

  • zark00 September 9, 2015 (10:15 am)

    WSeaparent, Anonymous – why do you want to punish Seattle teachers for your own poor employment choices?

    WSeaParent – get a new job if you haven’t seen a raise in 6 years – sounds like you chose a company that doesn’t value it’s employees, are not very good at your job, or are just lying.

    Anonymous – I’m in the same industry, you either don’t negotiate well on your own behalf, or you’re just lying. If you’re not making 2X AT LEAST what the average teacher is then you have chosen, and continue to chose, poorly. If you have any talent there are numerous jobs that you can get TODAY in Seattle that pay 3X the average teachers salary.

  • WSB September 9, 2015 (10:20 am)

    Just wanted to note here that we have launched, as of about half an hour ago, a new story with coverage of what’s happening today – photos from as many WS schools as we can get to (and thanks to those who are sending pix, too) and the latest links to any information about possible talks, strike duration, etc. (though so far, no updates along those lines).

  • au September 9, 2015 (10:32 am)

    anonymous-what you’ve described is in no way a healthy work/life relationship balance. The thought that your employer owns you and can demand you to work anytime, anywhere, irregardless of circumstance is NOTHING I want for the future of my children(or anybody’s kids for that matter)
    Stress and anxiety is not synonymous with working hard. Personally, I’d prefer the people teaching my kids NOT to be stressed out and anxious.

    Again, Teachers have my full support! In fact as soon as I am finished working I think I’ll go stand with them.

  • Seth September 9, 2015 (2:28 pm)

    Here is Dr. Larry Nyland, superintendent’s email – . Please voice your complaints to him and tell him that he was not an elected official. He was hired as an interim and if he would like to keep his position, he needs to make concessions with the teachers. Cheers!

  • gg September 9, 2015 (5:06 pm)

    Au, being successful and not being stressed to get there are not the norm, and there are some people who have done it but they are the 1%. It sounds like the next generation of people who believe they’re entitled to earn a decent living and not work their butts off to get it. give me a break. think Ricard Branson’s life to success was a stress free walk in the park? Nothing comes easy but it does come if you work hard for it. That means going above and beyond the stress free life I keep hearing these folks want.

  • Teacher September 9, 2015 (5:35 pm)

    Richard Branson for president!

  • MsD September 10, 2015 (1:19 am)

    @Anonymous. I also work in the software industry under the same expectations that you describe. How does your total comp (including RSUs/options, bonuses, etc.) compare to a teacher? Because I make well over 2x more than my most senior teacher friend with roughly the same years of work experience and education. And I am nowhere near arrogant enough to think the work I do is as important as the work they do.
    @soi – grow up. Perhaps you are a selfless volunteer/loving parent to wonderful children, but there are plenty of parents in the Seattle school district who aren’t. I’m not a teacher, but I have friends who are and they deal with parents with addictions, severe mental illness and anger/violence issues. They also deal with children who have been taught nothing other than how to get whatever they can, however they can. They handle this without extra hazardous duty pay. If this is some sort of revelation to you, I’m sorry, but it’s reality.

Sorry, comment time is over.