Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Rallies for Teachers TODAY

SEA Leadership - Please stop saying the School Board has anything to do with the contract negotiations.  You know they don't and yet your website persists in saying it.  The District's negotiating team is working with your team and the Board has zero input.

From SEA:
Seattle Education Association members will picket outside nine Seattle high schools Wednesday afternoon  (Sept. 2) to protest the Seattle School Board’s continued refusal to negotiate a fair contract settlement that addresses pay, recess, testing, student equity and other major issues that directly affect students.
Wednesday is a non-student workday, and educators will be picketing from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm at the following schools (picket at the school your school feeds into):
  • Chief Sealth HS
  • West Seattle HS
  • Rainier Beach HS
  • Franklin HS
  • Garfield HS
  • Ballard HS
  • Roosevelt HS
  • Ingraham HS
  • Nathan Hale HS
The sides remain far apart on:
  • Professional pay
  • Guaranteed student recess
  • Fair teacher and staff evaluations
  • Workloads for counselors, therapists, school psychologists and other education staff associates
  • Office professional workload relief
  • Reasonable testing
  • Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap
  • The district's proposal to make teachers work more for free
School is scheduled to start Sept. 9, and Seattle educators will be taking a strike vote this Thursday evening if there is no tentative contract agreement. The general membership meeting is 5 pm at Benaroya Hall, and bus transportation is available. 


Brian Duncan said...

I support the teachers in this negotiation. I will support them if they vote to strike.

As an aside, I note that in Pasco, the school board is very much publicly engaged in the negotiations with the teachers union there:

Not sure why Melissa is so insistent on SEA not naming the school board as the embodiment of the district, and "the other side" in this negotiation, rather than the superintendent, as the representative of the district. Not sure that matters so much, as ultimately the board oversees the superintendent on policy; the super just implements their policies, I assume. Is the super authorized by the board to make the final call for the district in the negotiations with SEA? Seems like some of these negotiated working conditions are policy issue as well (e.g., excessive standardized testing), so wouldn't the board have the final say on them versus the superintendent? Maybe there is some legal difference with Seattle versus Pasco in how the district is set up?

The main thing is which side has the more compelling case to make in the court of public opinion. I think SEA has the upper hand there. Citizens and parents and even teachers will of course disagree about this. Striking is always risky, as public opinion could always swing against teachers. But a poor contract also has risks, both for teachers and for students.
Brian in Ballard

Melissa Westbrook said...

Brian, I say that it is the district because it is. The Board helps define and shape the Strategic Plan and as long as the Superintendent is using the Strategic Plan to guide negotiations, then the Board has zero input.

They don't attend negotiations.

They don't give input.

I doubt they get specific updates.

That "just implements their polices" is all the work of the district, not some small thing.

The Board will have NO say or vote on the contract.

I don't know about Pasco.

I still think the way this is playing out seems fishy but it's not the rank-and-file's fault.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Brian, I read the linked article. All the Pasco Board did - as the Seattle School Board will likely do if things don't change - is approve a resolution to bar the teachers from their schools if they strike. The article talks about the "district" in negotiations, not their Board.

Anonymous said...

Received tonight:

Dear Parents and Community,

The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Seattle Education Association (SEA) are negotiating to achieve a new collective bargaining agreement. SEA represents our educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals. The current contract with SEA expired Tuesday and school is scheduled to start next Wednesday.

We are optimistic for an agreement because both SEA and SPS want the same thing; excellent teachers who receive competitive compensation to provide quality instruction time with students. Due to the importance of this contract, I want to keep you updated on our progress. Previous updates were sent to parents and community on Aug. 10, 20 and 28.

The School Day and Student Learning Time

Our students need more time with our teachers, who are among the best in the nation. If we can ensure students have more instructional time with effective teachers, student learning and outcomes will advance significantly. This is important for all students and essential for those who struggle or face challenges and need teacher support to achieve their true potential.

The district has asked teachers to extend the student day, more time for PE, arts music etc., and proposes additional collaboration time within their work-day, in addition to their individual planning time. Other districts that have provided more instructional time to student learning have seen significant gains in student achievement.

Research shows quality teaching, along with additional instruction time helps reduce the opportunity gap. Seattle has less instructional time than most school districts in the state. You can see a comparison of instructional time among Washington state school districts in this document adapted from the Spokane School District.

We want to work with SEA to provide this extremely valuable time for students, and for educators. The district is committed to compensating teachers for this time with a salary increase.

first half

Anonymous said...

Second half:

Salary Compensation

Our teachers and staff are dedicated and hardworking, and salary increases are extremely important to attract and retain the quality of teachers and staff our students need and deserve. So, even when the state was unable to provide Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) the last two years, Seattle Public Schools worked to provide salary increases to ensure teachers are compensated for their work.

This year the state has provided a COLA for the first time in many years, which SEA and the district agree is needed and deserved. The district has proposed a 13 percent salary increase (including the state COLA) over the next three years in exchange for more instructional time with students. This ensures teachers will be among the third highest paid in the state according to OSPI. A Seattle Times analysis, which appeared in the May 9, 2015 article “Wildly varying teacher salaries part of state budget debate,” this spring shows teacher salaries across the Puget Sound region. SEA has proposed a salary increase of 22.8 percent over the same three year contract period, including the state COLA.


SEA and SPS met Monday and Tuesday. During Tuesday’s session, the district requested to bring in a mediator to assist with the process in an effort to achieve an agreement and start school on time. SEA has agreed to a mediator, but will not return to the bargaining table until Friday.

Per SEA’s request, bargaining has been suspended. SEA has scheduled a meeting of their membership Thursday evening at Benaroya Hall to vote on a union action. The district team remains eager and available to meet with the SEA team, day or night, before and after the SEA vote, in order to make every effort to reach agreement before the start of school.

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) can be complex. In an effort to provide context and transparency, the district has posted the SEA and SPS proposals in which the two teams are the farthest apart in perspectives on our website.

These deal with salary compensation, partnership and equity teams, and the school calendar. We are eager to bargain with SEA for a contract which honors and respects our educators and instructional staff in schools, who are absolutely critical to student success and closing the opportunity gap. I will continue to update you on the status of our bargaining efforts and our progress together.

Best regards,

Larry Nyland

He makes it sound like it is all the teachers fault.


Anonymous said...


I agree with you that the wording of the SEA messaging about the School Board is "off." So I'm going to say this my own way:

The district's bargaining team has been playing games. It's time to grow up. If they agree to meet at a certain time and date, they need to show up.

If the superintendent is allowing this to happen, there is a problem. If he doesn't know about it, there is a problem. In either case, School Board members have the power to have a quiet word with the superintendent and let him they know they don't think it's productive for his bargaining team to behave in such an irresponsible way.

One positive side to mediation would be that the district's bargaining team would have to learn a new skill: showing up to meetings.

David Edelman

Watching said...

Seattle Times reports:

"“Nobody ever wants to strike, but the School Board needs to take things seriously and get things resolved,” said Phyllis Campano, the bargaining-team chair and union vice president. "

I agree with Melissa. One board member sits at the negotiating table. When a deal is struck, the contract is brought to the board for a vote.

Anonymous said...

I teach scores of kids who struggle with high school math. My struggling kids are benefit how if I'm under the thumb of the district for another 30 minutes? My struggling students need support IN the class and outside the class from MORE caring, qualified adults. Those of us in the buildings, working with kids are over stretched, and it has ZERO to do with 30 minutes of time.

I suppose we should just listen to Lakeside Bill G. with his knowledge of how class size doesn't matter, and then we can listen to Bill's acolyte Larry N. !?

ALL community workers have been ripped off from pay raises because tax cuts to the bandits were supposed to create a bonanza, and they created more bribery, more banditry and more misery. Ta Da.

The 30 minutes is a Gate$ Foundation fantasy or lie, and the pay is a


Anonymous said...

It's not a "lie" as much as new state law, an unfunded new state law. The state and/or district needs to pony up. NO OTHER WORKER would volunteer to add an extra 30 minutes to their day w/o compensation. It would be laughable for another employer to expect such a thing from an employee and if an employee accepted such a "deal" they would be seen as fools.
Teaching is WORK! It should be compensated as if the work MATTERS. The powers that be know what it takes for us to do a good job. They need to make being a good teacher EASIER and not more difficult with every legislative session and contract negotiation.

Anonymous said...

Board members can tell Larry he's to be fired if he doesn't offer more.

Board members can go to the press and make their case for a better deal for teachers.

Board members can demonstrate in front of schools with teachers.

We hear a lot about valuing teachers at election time.

Where is the board when it's time to act?

Queen Anne

Melissa Westbrook said...

No kidding. That's some wordsmithing

Patrick said...

It's no threat to tell Nyland he's fired if he doesn't something that's not in his contract. If the board fires him without cause he gets another quarter million to leave a year earlier than he was leaving anyway. He'd probably be delighted.

Anonymous said...

Nyland "retired" from Marysville with big retirement wishes (read the news articles - I just went and reviewed several). Theoretically he was happy to retire having made his contribution. That said, he was positioned to the district as the person who made amends with the teachers/community the year after the strike, so I don't understand why he's allowed his negotiating team to completely screw this process up.

By the way, if anybody wants to analyze teacher salary competitiveness (including state salaries) check out Interesting but heavy read - I've barely scratched the surface but it could make for a fun thread.


Anonymous said...

I understand why a superintendent makes more than the average Washington working family, but why more than the governor?

How can Nyland represent the interests of taxpayers when he is up to his neck in the trough already? It's like, negotiate your own salary below the governor's first, then negotiate teachers' salaries.

Mandated salary ranges for all public employees is a solution.


Greenwoody said...

The board may not currently have a defined role in the contract negotiations. But they should. They're our elected representatives, after all. They should determine the bargaining priorities and ratify the agreement. They should be able to hold district staff accountable for how they approach this process. And if they don't have that formal power now, they still have a platform as board members that they can use to speak up and say "we are unhappy that the district staff are behaving this way and we expect them to do what it takes to reach an agreement before school starts."

Anonymous said...

What Greenwoody said. I bcc'd the Board on my email to Nyland today. I've heard board members say (on more than one occasion) that the flood of emails from parents is something they pay attention to, even if they don't / can't respond to each one directly/individually.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Greenwoody, agreed.

The Board has been minimized and cowed by repeated complaining by senior staff (with backing from the powers that be and the Times).

The Board should step up to their rightful role and duly elected role. NO ONE is higher or more important to public education in Seattle than they are and any elected official who says/acts like he/she is will find a fight on their hands after this election. No more.

Watching said...

I'd like to see the pay scale for new teachers. Surely, these individuals deserve a 20% raise. An individual making $40K per year would be increased to $48K/year and this is a very good investment.

I'm also thrilled that SEA is advocating for counselors. The district has consistently failed to fund counselors in the WSS, and contractual agreement is the only way to get these services to students.

Lynn said...


Here's the salary schedule.

Anonymous said...

For ALL district employees here's the SPS salary schedules page -

The link above was for the 2013-2014 school year.

For teachers for the prior school year (2014-2015) go to

The TRI amount was different between the last 2 school years.