Thursday, August 30, 2018

Seattle Schools Tentative Strike Update

I see nothing new from either the district nor Seattle Education Association.  I hope they are making progress. 

I think the truth - at least for Seattle Public Schools - lies between the teachers' rhetoric and the district's rhetoric.  They could both be right.  Again, this is self-made by the Legislature and boy, do we need to go after them come a new session.  McCleary fix becomes Job#1.

Of course, the district does itself no favors because they are not entirely transparent with spending, they spend more than they want to admit at headquarters and now they wonder why people don't believe them.  I look to Superintendent Juneau to help the situation.

Parents, have no fear if things get down to the wire - I've driven past four schools and their parking lots are full.  Teachers and staff are continuing on, ready to go when school starts (if a tentative contract gets agreed to).    

This is not an endorsement but it appears candidate Kathy Democrat Kathy Gillespie for the 18th District has done her homework. This is from WPD's Facebook page:

Additional resources:
More good coverage from reporters in Spokane reporting on the statewide chaos resulting from the so-called McCleary solutions 2017-2018. A few key pieces in the article point to serious trouble ahead on top of the current trouble sweeping across our region.

Levy swipe/levy cap: After after decades of allowing schools to use voter-approved local special levies to pay for basic education expenses, including teacher salaries, the state swiped that money into the state budget, lowered the rate districts are allowed to ask for in future levy requests and restricted use of the money to state-approved expenses. This means many, many districts have lost capacity to fund current programs citizens expect. In fact, the loss is "estimated to be 40% statewide and totals $1.13 billion in 2019-20. The loss for some districts is significantly higher." - Bill Keim WASA 
Other troubling news: "In fact, Washington will see a net decrease in funding in 2019 overall, says OSPI spokesman Nathan Olson. The state solved the McCleary problem by reducing local districts' reliance on local levies. But for many districts, it means the same or less cash. 
And no two districts are impacted in precisely the same way. OSPI says certain districts will have it worse than others. Those districts, according to OSPI, typically have one of four qualities: 1) they already pay salaries near the state average, 2) they pay more for certificated staff than they were given by the state, 3) they didn't get a pay bump for having experienced teachers, and 4) they're losing 50 percent or more of their local levy capacity next year." 
Make no mistake, this chaos is a direct result of the inequities baked into the Legislative solutions passed in 2018-2018. The 2019 Legislature must uncover and systematically attempt to address shortcomings as the first order of business. Local communities must articulate their expectations to elected boards and representatives and remain engaged to advocate long after these local contracts are signed and school is back in session. 
I want citizens to be fully aware that decisions now to award salary increases over and above what can be sustained will potentially result in cuts as early as Spring 2019. I support our public schools and I am committed more than ever to being part of the new cadre of state legislators who will create sound policy that delivers the results we expect instead of creating the crisis we have now.


Not what it seems said...

The two most recent blog posts from Bill Keim reveal that the writing has been on the wall for sometime regarding this #McClearyMess ...

I leave the readership with a big question - could SPS, in fact, WANT SEA to go on strike? It is clear that with the new funding model (Regionalization, focus on statewide salary averages, decreasing levy funds, etc.) Seattle was destined to "lose" with McClearly dollars.

SPS may not be able to win this fight with the state in regards to their current district dollars - but if SEA strikes, the teachers send that message loud and clear. Mini conspiracy in the making?

Anonymous said...

I take it the 3.1% salary raise cap went up in smoke. 123K salaries in Everett, strikes? I think these will negatively impact the legislative elections and the 2019-2021 budget that begin July 1, 2019. Bad optics and taxpayer fatigue.


3.1 Figure said...

WEA never had intentions of respecting the 3.1 cap. I've not seen a single 3.1 settlement.

WEA claims that the state provided districts with funding for teacher salaries. WEA wanted those dollars even if it meant leaving districts tens of millions of dollars short.

It wasn't that long ago when the legislature provided districts with MSOC dollars. The state figure was $1K per child. Those dollars belonged to the children. Teachers took those dollars.

Reality Check said...


From Neal Morton, education reporter for The Seattle Times:
"The median salary for Seattle teachers rose from about $72,800 in 2012 (original McCleary order) to nearly $91,000 last year, a 25% increase. Statewide, the median teacher salary rose 24%"
On Tuesday, Aug 28, Seattle teachers voted to authorize a strike unless a new agreement is reached by Tues Sept 5 to increase teacher pay. So far there is no publicly available information as to what increase teachers there are seeking.
You can view your school district's pay data here https://www.documentcloud.org/…/4802523-Teacher-Median-Sala…

Should Seattle Public Schools provide double digit raises to all teachers and leave Seattle with a deficit of $68M?

Anonymous said...

Good grief. Seattle cops just got a 15% raise. Now the teachers want another 15% on top of the last contract's huge raise. Who is supposed to pay for this? My raise last year was 2.5%.

The writing is on the wall. The Seattle of the future is only for the filthy rich or the heavily subsidized poor. There's no place here for those of us in the middle.

Fed Up

Melissa Westbrook said...

Fed Up, 9% over three years is not "huge."

You do realize the irony of your last paragraph; the reason the teachers need to raise is to be able to live in the city where they work.

Anonymous said...

Teachers and cops used to be the middle.

Anonymous said...


Those of us that are not government employees don't have access to what our leaders seem to believe is a limitless pool of tax dollars to pay for raises we think we deserve.

Fed Up

Patrick said...

If we don't pay our teachers a decent salary, we'll be left with the teachers that aren't good enough to work in one of the neighboring districts for more money.

However, I hope there's also money for some other things: Smaller classes in all grades, funding 4th year of the world languages at high schools even if the classes are small, a 7-period day in high school would make a lot of scheduling easier and more chances to take electives, I could go on.

Anonymous said...

If we pay our teachers a reasonable salary, given budget constraints and fiscal realities, we will have teachers when the neighboring districts' teachers are unemployed due to budget cuts.

-Caphill Parent