Seattle teachers are striking in part because they want higher pay. Salaries vary widely for teachers in Washington state.
Seattle teachers went on strike Wednesday in part for higher pay. The strike is the first time the city’s educators have walked out over contract negotiations in 30 years.
Salaries for teachers in Washington state vary widely. And Seattle teachers already rank high among the state’s 20 largest school districts. They don’t make as much as their colleagues in Everett, where veteran teachers earn $90,757, not counting a number of extra stipends some receive. Teachers in Seattle at that level make $79,788. But they make more than those in many other districts.
Teacher pay is a complicated mix of state and local dollars: Teachers get a base salary from the state, which on average is 81 percent of teachers’ salaries. Another chunk of the pay comes from local districts, funded by local property tax levies. That supplemental amount was introduced in the 1970s and was supposed to be for extra tasks, but it has increased over time as lawmakers relaxed how much local districts could supplement what the state provides for public education. This, the state Supreme Court found, has led to an uneven education system in which wealthier school districts are able to raise more money than poorer ones.
The state Supreme Court ordered the state in 2012 to increase education spending, and in August the court began fining the state $100,000 a day for failing to come up with an adequate plan to fund education.