Seattle teachers reject contract, may skip the first day of school

Aug 29, 2013 by

SEATTLE – Seattle school officials are asking parents to prepare for the possibility that teachers may skip the first day of school to protest stalled union contract negotiations.

A teachers strike became a real possibility Monday night after about 1,800 members of the Seattle Education Association voted to reject the school board’s most recent contract proposal, according to a King5 television station and Associated Press report.

SEA President Jonathan Knapp told the media the union membership vote was nearly unanimous.

The district posted a statement on its website this week encouraging parents to make contingency plans in case teachers ditch their students.

“With the start of school on September 4, we are encouraging families to develop back-up plans should Seattle Public Schools not open on time,” the statement read, according to King5.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told the television station they’re in contact with school and union officials to monitor the situation and help resolve the contract dispute.

Contentious issues in the negotiations include the use of student test scores as part of teacher evaluations, adding 30 minutes of work time for elementary teachers, and caseload sizes for therapists, psychologists and nurses, King5 reports.

The current SEA pact expires August 31.

Superintendent Jose Banda told King5 he believes the district and union will reach an agreement, but we question why that should even matter.

There’s no law that we’re aware of that requires a teachers contract to be in place before school can start. Any delay would be the sole responsibility of the SEA.

If SEA teachers are truly dedicated to Seattle students, they won’t let petty contract disagreements eat into precious class time.

If the union interferes with the start of school next Wednesday, it will be a clear sign to parents, students and taxpayers that the district’s teachers are more concerned with their own self interests than properly educating the next generation.

At that point everyone should start wondering if the district is employing the best possible teachers.

Seattle teachers reject contract, may skip the first day of school – powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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