UPDATE: Seattle teacher strike? After authorization vote, local educators picket Wednesday

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:10 PM TUESDAY: Tonight, Seattle Public Schools teachers voted to authorize a strike if there’s no contract agreement before school starts on September 5th. One local school will be the site of informational picketing the next two days, according to this announcement just out of the WSB inbox:

This evening Seattle Education Association members voted to approve a strike, pending no tentative agreement by September 4th.

Genesee Hill Elementary School educators will be picketing Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30-4:30 outside of our building. We are calling on our district to bring us a fair contract that adequately compensates all educators in a city that has become increasingly expensive, fund full time counselors, nurses and librarians in all our schools and deeply develop our commitment to equity and racial justice, among other essential demands.

Our staff appreciates all support by family and community members. Please join us, bring your kids, and wear red for ed!

The district’s most-recent update was published yesterday. The teachers’ expired contract was reached three years ago after a strike that delayed the start of school.

ADDED 9:05 AM WEDNESDAY: Other schools’ teachers are picketing too. This photo was sent from outside West Seattle High School this morning:

We also were messaged about picketing this morning at Madison Middle School and Arbor Heights Elementary. And picketing is planned for an hour at Louisa Boren STEM K-8 starting just before 4 pm. And the district has updated its post on negotiations, noting that talks are scheduled to resume today.

46 Replies to "UPDATE: Seattle teacher strike? After authorization vote, local educators picket Wednesday"

  • Vic August 29, 2018 (6:16 am)

    Not all parents support this they are asking for unsustainable raises since local levies will cause a shortfall but unions don’t care because they are short sided. Give them the raise and then just have layoffs when they can’t afford it is simple budgeting that unions don’t get. They could reduce admin jobs at the district as well to pay for some of this. 

  • skeptic August 29, 2018 (7:29 am)

    Really?  This tactic worked so well for the teachers three years ago when they forced every working parent in the district to scramble for child care for two weeks while their SEA minions achieved almost nothing in their negotiations with the district.

    • James August 29, 2018 (9:30 am)

      Agreed the school district has limited funds and my taxes did just go up 100$ per month when is it enough. They have a 900 million+ budget. They are pushing to make it 1 billion. Im not willing to fund 100k salaries + comp for every teacher. The last strike they got a good bit but when is it enough. Im all for cutting overhead at the central office to increase teacher pay. Really would like to see this done in a sustainable manner not blind faith to unions who don’t get this is publicly funded and funds are not unlimited. 

  • Rico Maloney August 29, 2018 (9:50 am)

    Washington school districts have ~$2 billion in new money to spend, much dedicated to teacher salaries.  For reasons I’m sure are important to Seattle Public Schools, management has decided to negotiate at the very inception of the school year.  Frankly, substantial pay increases have been ordered, and now it is up to the educators to establish their shares….I cannot blame the teachers for asking the district to pay them properly.  If classes begin late, blame can squarely be placed on management ‘s choices.

    • HappyCamper August 29, 2018 (10:19 am)

      You’re correct. And let’s not forget than many teachers have master’s degrees and extra certifications, etc. Doesn’t a higher level of education typically warrant higher pay? Do we weant people to be making a choice between McDonalds and teaching? I support the teachers and unions because without collective bargaining the race to the bottom would be overnight. Instead of tearing people down who are bargaining for better pay, benefits and conditions (maybe better than our own) we should be asking ourselves how we can improve those same things for ourselves as well.

  • Truth4me August 29, 2018 (10:35 am)

    Skeptic say’s it all. “my day care got screwed up”. Here’s your chance to tell SPS that you’ll teach-and take whatever pay and benefits they give and NEVER complain about it.

  • rpo August 29, 2018 (10:41 am)

    100k salaries?  I don’t know where you are getting that from, but starting pay for a teacher WITH a masters is $59k in Seattle.  I’d like to see anyone afford to teach in Seattle on a salary that low.

    • T August 29, 2018 (11:54 am)

      Salaries are public record. I looked up some teachers during the last strike. 100k salaries exist. But the last strike resulted in a 9% raise over 3 years. So they all make even more today. 

      • Sea teacher August 31, 2018 (4:38 pm)

        The only way a teache can currently make 100k is with a PhD, 15+ years of experience, and most likely some sort of supplemental contract (coaching, department head, etc). 

    • Jon August 29, 2018 (12:08 pm)

      Thats not total compensation you need to count that as well. 

      • MathFacts August 29, 2018 (12:30 pm)

        And, of course, factor in that teachers get ~12 weeks off a year.  That dramatically increases the average hourly rate when comparing it to other professions.

      • wahwah August 29, 2018 (1:03 pm)

        So count total compensation, Jon.Count it and let us know what percent of teachers make, say, over 100k in total compensation.  Go on.

    • Son of teacher August 29, 2018 (12:54 pm)

      Let’s use the states own numbers when it comes to Seattle teachers compensation.The average Seattle teacher makes $ 105,218  per year including all benefits = $ 72 per hour workedThat is great money for only working 36 weeks per year and 16 weeks vacationI  am strongly against paying teachers based only on years on the job and not the quality of their teaching skills.Great teachers should be paid more and the bad teachers should be fired.    

      • wahwah August 29, 2018 (1:23 pm)

        Cite your sources.If you’re the son of a teacher, well, you should know better.  So prove your work.

      • Melissa August 29, 2018 (8:17 pm)

        Are you kidding with this 16 weeks vacation  business? Nonsense.

      • HappyCamper August 30, 2018 (7:40 am)

        Define “off”. I have a teacher that’s a relative. She works during breaks and in the summer and stays late with kids and parents and tutors students on her own time for free. And conferences, and buying supplies, blah blah. Their schedule and everything is a bit nebulous for sure but a living wage should be a reality for someone with an advanced degree.

      • rpo August 30, 2018 (8:08 am)

        Son of teacher….your math is entirely incorrect.  As per the public data on teacher compensation for Seattle Public Schools, 16 of the 3,087 teachers made over 100k including all compensation.  That’s a whopping half percent of teachers making over 100k.

  • Sps teacher August 29, 2018 (11:31 am)

    Unfortunately, people perceive it as greedy teachers wanting more $$$ looking at the highest end of the salary schedule. The fight with the district is a unified front, taking a village to raise our youth. Secretaries, instructional assistants, substitute teachers, etc, are fighting for benefits and living wages. We are fighting for all, maybe try having a conversation with a SPS employee before making quick assumptions with little information.

    • Reality August 29, 2018 (12:22 pm)

      Cool but what is your target SPS disclosed their financials and it seems irresponsible to have such a large increase when the funding shrinks in the future. WEA seems to always want more what is this magic number for teacher salaries to make better schools. As a parent and taxpayer I would like to know. I feel Its a public service job and the abilty to reach a six figure salary is a good opportunity in my opinion. Plus a pention which most taxpayers will not receive and teachers should leave if they don’t like the pay.

    • skeptic August 29, 2018 (12:26 pm)

      If the teachers want more pay it is their prerogative to negotiate it with  the school district.  If the SEA reaches an impasse with SPS  their only recourse is not “Welp, I guess we strike.  That’ll teach ya!”  There is a no strike clause in the CBA that both sides have agreed to.  Everyone needs to act like adults and show up for their jobs until a settlement is reached.  It is outrageous that the SEA would call for a work stoppage when talks aren’t going their way. 

    • HTB August 30, 2018 (9:59 am)

      SPS Teacher – Thanks for the clarification. One thing I’ve been confused about is how neighboring school districts are able to negotiate salaries are much higher. Is it fair to say that one of the reasons for this is that the raises for these districts are for certified teachers only while Seattle is holding out for raises for the support staff unions as well?

  • Tethyr Amruthar August 29, 2018 (12:05 pm)

    Seattle is a world-class city and our children absolutely deserve world-class educations.  This takes investment on the part of the city and state. I absolutely support our teachers getting a significant pay raise to help ensure Seattle Schools keep improving and hiring the best teachers possible.  Otherwise we will just end up watching all of our best teachers leave for other (better paying) school districts.Moreover, I would much rather see investment from the city of Seattle in school education (SPS) instead of more services for the homeless.  Education is an investment in the future.

    • Tobiased August 29, 2018 (12:50 pm)

      Seattle’s not world class and good school’s are hit and miss. 

  • Total Comp Info August 29, 2018 (12:08 pm)

    Check out total compensation here: http://data.spokesman.com/salaries/schools/2016/92-seattle-public-schools/employees/

    • Cut Overhead August 29, 2018 (12:51 pm)

      Here is another good link to look up salaries by county, district, school, and administration salaries.   I agree with James, cut overhead at the district office.  The Capital Project Funds department spends over $18M a year on staff salaries!   http://data.kitsapsun.com/projects/wa-school/

  • I have a question August 29, 2018 (12:28 pm)

    Will orientation still happen at West Seattle High School? The freshman orientation is scheduled for August 30th, 5:30-7:30, and inquiring minds want to know. 

    • WSHS Teacher August 29, 2018 (3:39 pm)

      Yes, 9th grade family night is still on regardless of bargaining status. See you there! 

  • 15% Really? August 29, 2018 (12:48 pm)

    The Seattle Education Association went on strike in
    September 2015 for many reasons. One reason was for increased pay. The negotiated
    agreement increased teacher pay by 12-15% without including benefits. The pay
    raise was negotiated to be implemented over three years in anticipation of increased
    funding from the legislature because of the McCleary
    decision. The legislature added funds to the education budget each year, but provided
    a “balloon payment” this year. If funding had not been provided Seattle Public
    Schools would have been driven into debt by the negotiated agreement.

    Now Seattle Education Association members are carrying signs
    that read “15%” presumably seeking another double digit increase in salary similar to increases provided to other surrounding districts, which did not receive the
    same pay raises in the past three years.

    Based on the articles below it appears that Seattle
    Education Association would like their 180 day employees to see the following
    increases in pay, without including benefits:

    Low end salary: 2015 – $44,000; 2018- $50,600; 2021 –

    High end salary: 2015 – $86,000; 2018 – $100,800; 2021 – $115,920

    I don’t mind having attractive pay for educators, but it appears that they don’t remember the pay raise they already won.  I doubt Seattle Public Schools is asking them
    to take a pay decrease.   However, 15% across the board seems out of step even in an expensive city.I think teachers should have an adequate wage for the city in which they work.  However,  have trouble
    with the sharp distinctions in salary simply based on a degree and years of
    experience.  Are the high end teachers
    almost twice as good as the low end teachers? 
    If so, then are we overpaying the low-end teachers or should we pay high
    end teachers based on something other than their degree and years of

    Seattle Times, August
    28, 2018

    “Seattle teachers and staff vote to authorize a strike —
    unless a deal is reached by Sept. 5”

    “Under their current contract, Seattle teachers earn between
    $50,600 and $100,800. Neighboring districts already have struck deals with
    their teachers unions to provide salaries ranging from $53,000 to $111,100 in
    Bellevue; $55,900 to $113,000 in Lake Washington; and $62,100 to $120,200 in


    Associated Press,
    September 15, 2015

    “Seattle teachers reach tentative deal to end strike”

    “Teacher salaries in Seattle range from about $44,000 to
    more than $86,000, depending on experience and education.”



    • CAM August 29, 2018 (3:27 pm)

      So what you cited establishes that SPS teachers were being paid less than their peers in surrounding school districts and successfully negotiated raises which made their pay more equitable. Those teachers in the surrounding school districts have now been given a raise so they are again being paid more than SPS teachers. How does this establish that SPS teachers should not be negotiating for an equivalent pay increase?

    • Thanks August 30, 2018 (12:21 am)

      Thanks, Mrs Nyland. Also, congrats for typing up your well-researched reply in WordPad before pasting it in. I’m sure the formatting won’t expose your identity to the other 13 blogs where you posted the same union-buster claptrap reply.

  • Mike August 29, 2018 (1:14 pm)

    http://data.kitsapsun.com/projects/wa-school/ Enjoy knowing how much they’re paid

    • yeah thanks August 30, 2018 (12:33 am)

      Yeah cool. I make twice as much of them for emailing dudes all day and they make half what I make for dealing with 25+ of kids like my annoying kids. Increase my taxes please. I’m not joking, teachers should make way more and our stingy state has the money.All the anti-teacher rhetoric on this thread is spooky. Like Trump Devos spooky. Please, take a minute to think about your neighbors and friends before posting more. Just a minute, please.

    • SeattleTeacher August 30, 2018 (6:50 am)

      The data on that website is not correct. I’m a teacher, and I looked up myself, and found MANY discrepancies. 

  • Melissa August 29, 2018 (1:36 pm)

    Let’s see. One teacher — I’m going to use a high school teacher as an example — has a load of, say, 5 classes. 30 kids each class. That’s 150 kids. Prep for teaching to diverse student needs (designing, implementing, modifying curriculum), assessment (grading of homework, tests, essays), meetings with parents outside of school hours, faculty meetings. For most of these teachers, this means working 7:30 – 4 or 4:30 and then another hour or two at home. Plus time on the weekend. So yeah, they are worth all of the money that they want and more. Perhaps there should be more money invested at the building level and less on administrators and their selections of expensive trainings for new teaching methodologies every 5-10 years.  That stuff is nuts. 

  • Foreigner August 29, 2018 (1:49 pm)

    Dear Tobiased,Speaking as a European who has traveled extensively, I would just like to say: Seattle IS a world-class city. It is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city known the world over.  Quite often, Seattlites don’t realize just what a big deal their city is.The Seattle School District is a travesty. Its teachers, on the other hand, are nothing short of amazing. Shame on the Seattle School District for not paying them properly.

    • Tethyr Amruthar August 29, 2018 (3:19 pm)

      Absolutely agree.  Thank you.

    • Kim August 29, 2018 (5:38 pm)

      Thank you. This makes me feel good.

  • T Rex August 29, 2018 (3:16 pm)

     Teachers deserve every single dollar they make. Besides teaching they also have to put up with verbal abuse at times, physical abuse at times, whining, kids who refuse to perform and whose parents don’t give a crap, kids who are completely disrespectful , I could go on and on. Not to mention having to deal with overbearing parents who insist that their child is the perfect image of the best child on the planet. It takes a very special person to be a teacher and I can name at LEAST 5 teachers I had in high school who made a major impact on me. All in good ways. I still keep in touch with one of these teachers to this day and I graduated along time ago! 

  • MJ August 29, 2018 (4:43 pm)

    Time to increase the school year from 180 days to 200, 4 10 wk quarters, a nd increase teacher pay accordingly.  Also its time to trim administration and make it easier to get rid of ineffective teachers.  

    • truth August 29, 2018 (6:07 pm)

      Yes.  This makes a lot of sense.  Many schools are already moving to longer sessions (as they really should, summers off is an antiquated system) and the more we hurry this along the better.  And also a yes to admins being cut/paid less so long as the money can go to the teachers in the trenches.

  • TJ August 29, 2018 (6:36 pm)

    This is a dispute between teachers and the district, which is why they should be picketing outside district headquarters, not in front schools. The district has the money. This is not another time for taxpayers to step up, nor should anyone actually be claiming that. Our property tax increases here in Seattle reflect that now with the state budget that fixed this. And people need to keep in mind that the new state budget that our courts say have fulfilled the McCleary decision also will reduce and cap local levies in 2019. And something to think about for those who think district budgets, teacher pay, and student achievement are all tied in: Seattle spends just less than Bellevue per student, and actually more taking into account fringe levies tied to schools (Family and Education Levy), yet Bellevue teacher pay is higher, directly because they have a much smaller per capita beauracracy. And, their student performance is a lot higher than Seattle. 

    • WSB August 29, 2018 (7:13 pm)

      The teachers picketed outside district HQ during the 2015 strike. One problem now, I would think: All that frontage is in the Lander St. Bridge construction zone.

  • Educator August 29, 2018 (9:01 pm)

    The important aspect of this debate that is getting no attention in the news is the impact the new levy limits will have on school funding. This fight is going to get much worse for Seattle in particular as the legislature has limited the amount of money we can raise from levies. Seattle voters have always been generous on approving levies to fund education locally. The legislature’s decision means that there will be less local money available even though the state is giving more. However, that puts levy friendly cities like Seattle at a loss in the long run even though there is a short term gain from the state funding. Without adequate levy funds, Seattle will fall behind in it’s ability to pay its educators competitive salaries. As a city, we need to fight the legislature to allow our voters to approve levies without caps to supplement education funding. The increased state money is important but it shouldn’t be at the expense of local funding. Seattle has a great number of veteran teachers. That experience is priceless. Seattle will stop retaining its teachers if they can’t afford to live and teach here. I am one of those veteran teachers, but to live in this city, my husband works 2 jobs and has for 10 years. The cost of living is rising quicker than our salaries and we will be forced out financially if the levy rules don’t change and salaries don’t increase.

    • KM August 30, 2018 (7:52 am)

      Teachers have extremely important jobs and deserved so much more, and we have to find another way to make this happen besides an increase in property taxes.

  • Luke August 30, 2018 (8:19 am)

    I stand in solidarity with the educators. United we stand. Divided we beg. I’m proud to be a union member. 

    • HappyCamper August 31, 2018 (7:42 pm)

      Right on Luke! 

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