Union: new agreement is victory for Seattle kids

After a lengthy meeting, the Seattle Education Association’s Representative Assembly voted to recommend approval of a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with the Seattle School Board and to suspend the week-long strike by teachers, counselors, paraprofiessionals, and other education professionals.

The tentative agreement must still be ratified by the membership, but classes in the Seattle school district will begin on September 17. The membership vote will take place on Sunday, September 20.

“This is a hard-fought victory for the kids of Seattle, and I am proud of SEA members and our incredible bargaining team,” said Jonathan Knapp, SEA president. “This agreement signals a new era in bargaining in public education. We’ve negotiated a pro-student, pro-parent, pro-educator agreement. We really appreciate the strong support from parents and students.”

SEA published highlights of the tentative agreement:

• Recess: Guaranteed 30 minutes of recess for all elementary students.
• Reasonable testing: New policies to reduce the over-testing of our students.
• Professional pay: Base salary increases of 3 percent, 2 percent and 4.5 percent, plus the state COLA of 4.8 percent
• Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Test scores will no longer be tied to teacher evaluations, plus there is new contract language that supports teachers’ professional growth.
• Educator workload relief: Additional staff to reduce workloads and provide student services.
• Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap: Creating race and equity teams at 30 of the district’s schools.
• The administration’s proposal to lengthen the school day: Teachers will be compensated for additional work.

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