More teachers settle in double-digits, as strikes continue.


The Labor Day weekend brought closure to several teacher contract negotiations. (The Washington Education Association map embedded above shows settlements and strike activity.)

Seattle teachers have reached a tentative 10.5 percent pay boost, with added benefits, reports the Seattle Times. 

A tentative one-year contract calls for a 10.5 percent raise for 6,000 Seattle Public Schools employees, according to an email sent Saturday to members of the Seattle Education Association.

The deal, reached late Friday, also includes five additional days of paid parental leave for teachers and substitutes, classified staff and office personnel. School will start as scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Union members and the School Board will vote on the contract this month.

The Spokesman-Review reports a tentative agreement in the Central Valley district. The Washington Education Association reports tentative agreements in Vancouver, Ridgefield and Hockinson. The WEA adds,

Teachers in Evergreen, Battle Ground, Washougal and Longview do not have agreements and remain on strike. Tumwater teachers also are on strike; classes were scheduled to start Sept. 5.

Teachers in Centralia, Puyallup, Stanwood-Camano, Tukwila, Arlington, Conway, South Whidbey, Monroe and Wapato have voted to strike if they don’t have agreements by the start of school this week.

Tacoma teachers are in negotiations and will have a general membership meeting Sept. 4.

The Seattle Times has a status report with a good interactive graphic. ST reporter Neal Morton writes that lawmakers expected “school-contract chaos” this year.

“It was anticipated to be messy,” said Christine Rolfes, the chief Democratic Senate budget writer and one of a handful of legislators who drafted the K-12 spending plan.

Over the past two years, the Washington Legislature both imploded the way it pays for public schools and added billions of dollars to the state’s tab for educator salaries. The infusion of cash satisfied the state Supreme Court, which in 2012 ruled in the McCleary case that the state was violating its own constitution by failing to pay for the full cost of providing a basic education to 1.1 million students.

But lawmakers also went a step further than that order, and set new rules on how districts could actually spend their new money while capping what they could raise locally. To many districts, those rules were ambiguous.

Morton’s piece does a good job explaining the tense negotiations seen in many districts this year. It’s worth reading in its entirety.

Teachers have done well as the double-digit settlements attest, though the sustainability of some of these deals remains in doubt. It’s unclear what role the threat of strikes played in leveraging the agreements. Experts have pointed out the odd reality: Teacher strikes are both illegal and effective

It’ll be good to get everybody back to school.