Seattle teachers approve new contract following strike
SEATTLE (AP) — Teachers in Seattle have approved a new, three-year contract following a strike that delayed the start of the school year in Washington state’s largest district.
The vote results were announced Tuesday by the union, the Seattle Education Association.
The Seattle Times reports that 71% voted in favor for the contract covering classroom teachers and staff with certificates.
The strike began Sept. 7, which was supposed to be the first day for approximately 49,000 students in the district. The start of the school year was delayed by five school days.
Picketing teachers said their main concern was educational and emotional help for students, especially those with special needs or learning difficulties that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
The new contract includes additional support staff in classrooms.
Seattle Public Schools agreed to pay raises of 7% for teachers. Originally, the district proposed a 6.5% increase, which included a state-funded 5.5% inflationary adjustment.
In the second year of the contract, members would receive a 4% salary increase for inflation and 3% the following year.
The contract will cost the district about $228 million over three years and add nearly $92 million to the already projected budget shortfalls.