Thursday, September 03, 2015

SEA Likely to take a Strike Vote

From Twitter:

SEA has 5,000 members, hasn't gone to strike since 1985. "I think we know where the vote's going tonight," Phyllis Campano, union VP, says.

District statement released tonight:

SEATTLE –Seattle Education Association (SEA) members have voted to authorize a strike tonight, potentially delaying the start of school. SEA members took the action after a collective bargaining agreement could not be reached between the union and the Seattle Public Schools (SPS).

SEA represents the district’s  educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals. The current contract with SEA expired Tuesday. A vote to authorize a strike is not declaring a strike. The union is not allowed to declare a strike until 72 hours after the vote to authorize. Securing an agreeable contract for union members is highly important to both SPS and SEA.

SPS and SEA have a shared goal of providing a quality education for our 53,000 students. The district is optimistic an agreement can be reached, and those students can start their school year.  A mediator will meet with both sides Friday to assist in the negotiation process and the district is hopeful that an agreement can be made to start school as scheduled, on September 9.

“Our goal is a contract which honors, respects and pays oureducators and provides more instructional time for all students, including those children who desperately need more time with outstanding teachers in order to succeed,” said Superintendent Larry Nyland.  Seattle remains behind other districts statewide in the amount of daily instructional time for students, approximately six hours and ten minutes.   SPS has proposed a 13% salary increase over three years for SEA members, including a state Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). Since 2007, the district has increased salaries for teachers by 23%, exceeding the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 19% over the same time period.

The start of school could potentially be delayed. The district is working with the City of Seattle on child care options, including Seattle Parks and Recreation and the possibility of some SPS daycares remaining open. Athletics events will operate as scheduled, unless otherwise announced.


Anonymous said...

And I think we know there's an injunction waiting. In the mean time the students suffer. It's going to take years for all the hard feelings to diminish.

Way to go SEA and SPS.

Going Private

Anonymous said...

I support the teachers, and I am disappointed in the media. Even KUOW is calling what the teachers are asking for a "raise." It is not a raise, it is make-up payments for years of missed COLAs. The word "raise" comes with baggage (greed) and a raise isn't even what teachers are asking for.

Teachers are not volunteers. They are doing an important job, and they should be getting COLAs.

On top of this, the district is asking teachers to teach an extra 30 minutes a day for free. Crazy.

SPS knew this was coming, and they chose to do... nothing. Just like they know that there aren't enough high school seats starting next year, and they are doing... nothing. I am so frustrated with how this district is run, but it is not the fault of the teachers.

-supportive parent

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Anonymous said...

There is a SEVERE shortage of teachers across the country + Costs of living and housing skyrocketing in Seattle. This is a strange time for Nyland to be playing propaganda games with teachers, makes me wonder if he's trying to get the real teachers to quit and move to other districts so he can hire the trained-for-5-weeks instant-"teachers". Those won't be unionized because fake teaching is only a stepping stone to their real careers. Then Nyland can save lots of money from teachers' salaries and benefits and hire some additional assistant superintendents.
Why was this man hired to run a school district? He lies and bullies and manipulates, shouldn't he go run for political office with others of his kind?

"Educators cite low pay, lack of respect and support, and high-stakes tests as causes"


Anonymous said...

Going Private - can you explain the injunction? Thanks.

-ML Mama

WonderingWilla said...

Honestly, the more I sort through this, the only conclusion that SPS staff are completely to blame here. Their side of the negotiations were mishandled: showing up to meetings late, missing deadlines, ignoring safeguards for special needs kids in the classroom.

Say if all those things were settled, dropping that extra 30 minutes in the middle of August. If there's one thing I've noticed in my casual observation volunteering at school for three years is that scheduling alone is a Herculean task. To have to scramble last minute to rework the school day even if it's just for more recess would throw individual schools into a spin.

It's like Mr. Bean is running the district.

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Maureen said...

A strike will have a pretty significant negative impact on my IB senior's ability to earn a diploma, but it's worth it to our family because teachers deserve to be properly compensated for the incredibly important and difficult work that they do. For parents who oppose a strike (if there are any here): do you really want your kids educated on the cheap?

(NOTE that I don't mean to gloss over the difficulty a strike will impose on working parents of younger kids, but I want those parents to think about the importance of properly compensating the professionals your kids are with six or seven hours a day.)

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Local news had a teacher blaming the school board. I was under the impression the board has no input to the settlement parameters?

Ebenezer said...

Unanimous for a strike.

The District gets what they want - a strike.

RosieReader said...

Maureen, assuming there is a strike, IB parents from all three schools, as well a all AP parents should urge their schools' negotiation teams to ask that make up days occur during all/part of the currently scheduled full week midwinter and spring breaks. That would give back some instructional time before the IB and AP tests. Those breaks are all negotiated items anyway. And the school year already ends absurdly late.

Anonymous said...

A Q13 report on the unanimous strike vote.


Meg said...

I keep thinking about the fact that SPS administration, knowing that CBA negotiations would be coming, JUST gave raises to administrators (which will be appx $1M for the 2015-16 school year) in advance of finalizing negotiations. Catching up on COLA would obviously cost more than $1M/year, but district administrators made some pretty clear decisions about spending priorities and allocation of limited funds while knowing that negotiations were underway.

At least that's how it looks to me.

Patrick said...

Good for the teachers. I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I, like the SPS central staff, had given myself many raises over the years, while the people who do the most important work in the district get none.

Watching said...

The district consistently fails to provide wrap around services such as counselors and psychologists. Hopefully we will get contractual language that will support these services for students.

The district failed to understand the concerns around excessive testing, and put our children through Amplify- which was "aspirational".

Teachers - especially at the low end of the pay scale- deserve to make a living wage.

It took long enough, but I"m glad SEA stood-up.

Anonymous said...

Teachers are not striking, they took a strike vote and authorized their representatives to invoke a strike at anytime. I doubt the district will blink or the teachers will strike. I predict maybe another .5% in crease for the teachers.

Strike less

Unknown said...

Excellent point Meg, SEA needs to insist that $1M be peeled off and reassigned to teaching.

Rosie, how about all District and state tests are scheduled after the original last day of school? As the parent of a senior, we have already reserved the scheduled breaks for college and other trips.

Unknown said...

8:32 Unknown was Maureen.

Anonymous said...

SEA (teachers, paras, ESA's, SAEOPs) voted to strike on 9/9, the first day of school for students, unless a tentative agreement is reached before then. The vote was unanimous. You could hear a pin drop when "nays" were called.


Robert Cruickshank said...

I would support a strike solely over teacher pay. But SEA has gone beyond that in a very good way. Their core issues include giving kids enough time for recess (currently many kids don't have enough time to eat or play, which hurts their ability to learn), more instructional support for special education, more equity teams, and perhaps most importantly, a reduction in standardized testing and its impact on the classroom.

The fact that teachers are willing to go on strike over those kinds of issues shows just how deeply devoted they are to Seattle's kids. It's inspiring. And it's going to generate a lot of public support for their position. Let's hope the district comes to its senses and reaches a good agreement before Wednesday.

As to an injunction - there's no way a court would grant it. Since the SEA contract has already expired, they can go out on strike. State law doesn't prohibit that, no matter what the Washington Policy Center or Rob McKenna say.

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Anonymous said...

nyland focuses only on elementary schools for his data for time in class- high schools are at or above other districts. Yet high school too will increase their day by 6.8% under the district proposals. The pay increase of 18% over 3 years is based on a teachers BASE salary, not Total salary (and added to the TRI pay)-right now TRI pay is 25 % of my paycheck. factoring all the above issues in, and we have not had a raise in over 6 are looking at 1% a year. And Seattle is raising, not lowering classroom sizes in special education and grades 3-12. The district wants a strike in my opinion. And where has that 40 million dollars gone?

looking at Everett District

mirmac1 said...

Looking at Everett

Can you expand on your statement that the district is raising classroom sizes for special education?

Anonymous said...

So it seems (from the District update) that any pay raise is to address a longer school day. That means SEA has to recalibrate even more, and come from even more behind. What is with this District? And they just gave themselves lavish pay raises down there in JSCEE. It is jarring.

I'm sure nobody wants to reorganize their working week next week, but I cannot imagine that the public isn't with the teachers on this one.


Anonymous said...

CCA where do you get the "shortage of teachers" idea from? I hear it talked about but I have never seen it when applying for jobs or interviewing candidates.

Glad I left Seattle

seattle citizen said...

Glad, two things point to shortage: many jobs (particularly in more specialized disciples - math, SCI special ed...) go begging. And there are fewer applicants to teacher training programs.
And if one considers the disrespect educators get these days in the media, the increasingly onerous workloads, and a rising economy with other jobs available....

Melissa Westbrook said...

Meg and others are right - I have the salary document that has every single SPS employee. (I'll try to link it soon in a separate thread).

The district CANNOT say they don't have the money. They have given raises to senior management AND hired new manager (see Chief of Schools). They have transferred $40M from the Capital budget to Operations and did not ever explain exactly what about $15M of it was to be used for.

Meanwhile, the 36th Dems Board did not return any endorsement for District VI. Hard to know who that reflects on but this strike issue does not make McLaren, a former teacher, look great.

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to the teacher shortage via the Dept of Ed

Some areas are in greater need than others due to politics and funding and nationally it is across the board in ELL and SPED

As for Seattle this is a one of the many dense cities in which people live. I can provide you with the link if you so demand it.

The result is the clustering and in turn expense that results from this clustering. Seattle is now number one in traffic, traffic accidents, rent increases which does not include NOLA as that city has well an overwhelming housing shortage which contributes to over 75% income dedicated to rent.

Then we have the overall real problem the regressive tax structure that most income is spent on sales taxes. We are the number one state with regards to that as well.

I am happily leaving the area and began the licensing process to leave the region. I can no longer support myself here without food banks, food stamps and other forms of both public and private assistance. I can name all the churches that offer free breakfast, free lunches, movies etc.

Odd that an educated 50 something woman has to move across country to find a job. SPS has no shortage of educators and the state has extensive licensing and accreditation demands that make it utterly impossible for already credentialed and trained educators to add endorsements for in demand fields.

So eventually even an educator with a new degree and the debt that accompanies it will say why do this and get no respect and dignity where I can go to Amazon get the same but at twice the salary.

If it was not ageism and sexism in this city I would work at the antagonistic culture that Amazon seems to endorse, as I have a lifetime of it from working in the SPS.

I am shocked they voted for striking. I have nothing good to say about the union either and in a city that goes out of its way to avoid conflict and has never experienced hardship in ways that other cities in America has, I don't see this strike happen as it has in Philly (where one district is opening with teachers working without pay) and Chicago that has led a their superintendant being removed and possibly investigated.

So SPS will be back in a few days. The fear that dictates the undercoat of this expensive city is all we need to remind ourselves that Seattle is and always will be a company town. Welcome to the Amazon. I can't wait to leave. And no the door won't hit me on the way out as I don't own a door. I can't afford it. I work for SPS and if I had a car I would live in it.

And for the record do not respond to me as bitter. I am not I am thrilled to be alive and have still opportunity to work and do something in children's lives, it just won't be here. This is not Nirvana, that was a band. It is okay to move somewhere else to remain a productive citizen. Seattle does not want me here. So I get the invitation to my lifelong home has been rescinded.

The union and my colleagues who ignore me and often treat me with utter disrespect have ensured that I will be at the food banks this week. And if I am at a corner asking for money, you can kick me. Not the first time.

Thank you

- A Sub in Seattle,

Anonymous said...

I hear you A Sub in Seattle. Our renter neighbor who has a degree in biochemistry and a teaching certificate couldn't get hired either except as a sub. She made more than what a 1st year teacher made tutoring everything from elementary school math to calculus alongside helping college bound students with their SAT prep and applications. But she wanted job security and benefits and eventually found a teaching job in Vancouver which turned out to be the silver lining.

The politics of hiring (transfers) and collegial support is I think a different thing from SEA CBA. It's internal politics and I'm not sure teachers are thrilled with their union reps or building politics at times. I have gotten an earful over the years from new to seasoned teachers. But when it comes down to compensation, it's a pretty united bunch and that's what this is about.

I wish you well.


RosieReader said...

Maureen, IB and AP exam schedules are set by the national and international bodies that administer the programs. There's no flexibility for a district or school to change that. Last year IB exams started on May 4 and ended on My 22. The 2016 calender isn't posted yet. The AP exams in 2016 start on May 2 and ends on May 13.

n said...

Leadership at my school has increased both lunch and recesses but have asked that teachers do recess duty for those extra minutes every day. So instead of getting an extra ten minutes to prep for the pm, I'll be doing recess duty. I don't know. I suppose that sounds like nothing but I sure could use a little time to prep for pm without it being my lunch which is never a full thirty anyway. Always rushing.

I hear sub as well. CJ said it and I didn't really realize it but there is a vendetta? against older teachers. District-wide it may be about money. Paying less of it. At my school which has had a lot of turnover recently the new teachers are all very young and some brand new. A reader posted a column recently that showed a teacher's first five-years-to-ten-years (I think it was) was the most productive in terms of creating excellent teaching. So some experience would benefit kids and learning. At my school I think it has to do with grooming. Our principal is very insecure and authoritarian but very good at grooming the youngest and newest teachers. My principal guides the BLT, staff meeting agendas and classroom staffing with an iron hand. And classroom staffing appears to be more about gotcha than kids.

Our union seems to be ignorant of it all at elementary. Time will tell if SEA really knows how to handle a strike. I wish Eric M. were at the helm. Seattle schools and teachers are in a sad state.

Anonymous said...

Thank you reader, to have someone actually support me is not something I am accustomed to.

As a sub I see and hear everything. I am well aware of building dynamics, student problems and of course the Teachers that are doing their job and those who well are not.

I have seen a systemic shove and move those "older" teachers out. There is ageism and sexism alive and well here. The two young ladies from Black Lives Matter who shoved an older man who was scheduled to speak did the same to me as they were stashing their backpacks. I heard all of it aforehand and tried to get someone to be aware of what was coming and was told to get lost.

We like to believe that is a city that is progressive and by that I think we mean with regards to money. I cross the city every day and see and hear a lot as well. I was told to shut up when I helped two young girls on metro edit and revise a report they were writing. And I wonder why the children in many schools say the same. Apple meet the tree.

I have offered as many other subs that are "older" to update credentials and endorsements only to be directed to expensive colleges to do so while younger have been told to try the Teacher's Fellowship program. Really you will spend all that money and yet not on an already credentialed and trained educator?

Try calling or emailing the Olympia office to get help in finding ways to improve a license. Nope. Yet when I called similar offices out of state to get licensing they were gracious and helpful. They gave me all the ways I can get their license and also ways to wave costs or defer fees as that is another problem. The endless nickel and diming lends itself to the problem of finding qualified teachers.

As for SEA I can assure you substitutes are an afterthought and an annoyance. The leadership or lack thereof speaks volumes. Or doesn't speak at all frankly. I have nothing to say good so I will not say any more.

As I said I was born, raised and educated here and I am being shown the door. I am going to walk out with my head held high. But I want people to know the truth of how we are treated by the illustrious leaders of this city and its institutions. As for many of its members I can assure they are the apple from the same tree.

- Sub

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Sub, as deleted said, there seem to be racial overtones in your diatribe. I'd hate to think the blog admins condone such writing.

kellie said...

Now that there is a little extra money, it should go directly to the teachers. That should be a no-brainer.

In the case of SPS building staff, teachers and administrative staff, to say that they have been asked to do more for less, is very much an understatement.

Teacher salaries have fallen behind as a result of six years of no COLA. At a bare minimum, a catch-up COLA should be a top priority.

Under the old Weighted STUDENT Formula (WSF), schools were funded based on every single student in the building. Under the current Weighted Staffing Formula, buildings are just allocated a certain amount of staff.

That change may not appear like much on the surface. However, when most of the SPS buildings are stuffed to the gills and then some, this budget change means that many schools have 10% fewer staff than if staffing were allocated by the number of students in the building.

I ran the numbers a few years ago and it was truly shocking. At my students elementary school, I had calculated under the old formula, there would have been 5 additional adults in the building.

nacmom said...

Can anyone provide the total annual financial impact to the district budget of requested vs proposed salary increases? I've read estimates as low as $2M annually up to $33M annually. Presumably, it's somewhere in the murky middle? & if you can, please provide methodology for calculations. Much appreciated!

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Anonymous said...

I am a Special Education Paraeducator in a SPS Developmental Preschool. The District proposal is to remove Para's from the classroom setting, put them into a "pool" and place them as deemed necessary. Hahah! Really?

We have 12 children with IEP's (individualized education plans) in each session (a.m. and p.m.). We have the option to also have 2 children, as peer models in each session as well. The District wants to remove the option of peers, add 2 more students with IEP's, and remove the Paras? Last year in one session alone, we had a child with a walker that needs assistance getting on and off the bus, help getting in and out of the walker, assistance in the bathroom, and needs to be guarded when playing on the floor, as other students aren't especially careful of this child who is 4, but crawling. We had a child in a wheelchair who was non ambulatory, had a feeding tube, and was in diapers. Someone needs to be close to this student at all times to watch for seizures, and to protect the feeding tube from other students who may pull it out. There were 2 students with major behavioral issues, who were aggressive, explosive and unpredictable. We had 2 non verbal students with Down's Syndrome, who often times became targets of the aggressive students. The good majority of the 12 students also have Autism. Many of our students were in our classroom for social, behavioral, speech or motor skills help. We had students who needed one on one supervision at all times, though the district would not provide additional help.

Place assistants in Preschool classrooms "as necessary"? How can ONE teacher take care (take care being the operative words;teaching should be the priority) of all of these students AND find a TEACHABLE MOMENT?! Not to mention, lesson planning, snack time, bathroom breaks and or diaper changes (who will then supervise the others?), potty training, recess, facilitate social interaction AND get some educational learning in there somewhere too, while putting out "fires" all over the classroom, making sure no child "escapes", chasing around 2 students in particular, who may, at any time, explode into a tyrant, possibly injuring another student (again!)? Oh, and then there is all the time teachers spend writing and implementing IEP's, and holding the meetings, on their own time, during lunch breaks or after school hours.

The District told us we were "Asking for a lot of money. We don't know where that is going to come from". Where is the 40 million the district was given for Special Education? Why does Administration get hefty raises, and make the decisions for the classrooms, when they have never even stepped foot in one? Teachers work hard, and care about their students. We cry every year, when one of our Preschoolers moves on to Kindergarten. We have many of these students for 3 years.

I just wish the public would see and realize, THEIR CHILDREN are under the supervision and in the care of their teachers, during the school year, for more hours a day than they spend at home, and that those teachers are shaping the children of the future. Teachers are there to teach.....not babysit. If you take the Paraeducators out of the Preschool classroom.....that is exactly what it will UNSAFE, non learning, daycare environment! Can the district say "lawsuit"? Because I can guarantee, there will be injuries. Not to mention the fact, even in a daycare, the ratio of children to adults is 6/1, and they want to add 2 more students to the Special Education, Developmental Preschool classroom, making it 14 with IEP's. Good thinking SPS. I used to say I was proud to work for you. I voted to strike. I can't afford to not work, but I will find a way to survive. Teachers deserve a raise. Six years without even a COLA? Students deserve recess. Testing needs to be less, and the results, need not to be the way to base a teachers evaluation! I could go on and on.