Tonight, Seattle’s 6,000 educators will vote on their newest contract: a three-year agreement that would give them double-digit raises.
Starting at 3:30, they’ll file into Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, clad in their union’s signature red shirts, to vote on their newest contract with Seattle Public Schools. If teachers agree to this contract, parents and teachers will know well ahead of Labor Day weekend that classes will start as planned on Sept. 4.
The tentative contract, which includes another sizable raise for the union’s members, is expected to pass. The Seattle Education Association union walked away from negotiations on Saturday evening with many of the items they asked for in this three-year contract, said union officials. Educators received an email with a summary of the deal and its salary schedules Sunday evening.
If approved, the School Board will have to approve the tentative agreement in the next month.
At this time last summer, it was unclear whether schools would begin on time. Without a contract to approve or reject, the union members voted to authorize a strike by the first day of school.
The pay raises in this year’s deal — 11.1% for certificated teachers and 12.1% for classified employees such as paraeducators — are much higher than the district’s original offer of just 2%. But the district’s negotiators had an apparent change of heart in the last week. As recently as last Wednesday, union leadership said both parties were still far apart on compensation issues.
The district has decided to decline questions and interview requests to The Seattle Times until after the vote occurs.