Bellevue teachers announced tonight they would strike over pay and curriculum issues, meaning the first day of classes for 16,000 students — scheduled for Tuesday — will be canceled.

Bellevue teachers announced tonight they would strike over pay and curriculum issues, meaning the first day of classes for 16,000 students — scheduled for Tuesday — will be canceled.

Negotiations with the school district reached an impasse over the weekend, and a mediator had been called in to help. In June, the teachers had authorized a strike for the start of school if a new contract was not in place.

The union represents some 1,200 teachers, counselors and other classroom specialists.

The teachers acknowledge they are among the highest paid in the region, but say salaries have not kept pace with those in other districts.

The district offered a 1.5 percent pay raise for the school year; combined with a state cost-of-living raise, their actual salary would have increased by 6.6 percent.

District officials Saturday asked for the mediator from the Public Employment Relations Commission.

Teachers also want more control over curriculum. The district offered a new proposal in recent days to allow teachers to modify or supplement the standardized curriculum, but it requires teachers who replace lessons to submit changes to a review panel for possible inclusion in the curriculum.

As the teachers met this evening at Odle Middle School to discuss the plans, about 80 parents and students stood outside chanting, “We support our teachers.” Several said they would join the teachers on picket lines Tuesday.

The two sides will meet tomorrow afternoon to continue negotiating, according to a union spokesman.

The district is posting updates to the contract negotiations and other news on its Web site, www.bsd405.org

Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report.