SEATTLE -- Teachers in Seattle will walk picket lines Wednesday after last-minute negotiations failed to avert a strike.
The 2015-2016 school year was scheduled to begin Wednesday. Instead, teachers will hit the picket line for the first time in 30 years. There are 53,000 students impacted.
The announcement came just 20 minutes after the district gave the union an offer, and it wasn't good enough. There's still no middle ground on pay increases, instructional time and testing evaluations.
"They are still expecting us to work a longer day without paying for it. It's just not reasonable," said Phyllis Campano of the Seattle Education Association.
Soon after, the Seattle School Board took its next step, authorizing its superintendent to take legal action against the union.
"I am devastated at the thought that we are not going to start school tomorrow," said Marty McLaren, Seattle School Board.
"This is a textbook case of what results from a profoundly broken K-12 funding model in Washington state," said Sherry Carr, Seattle School Board.
Parents are now scrambling to find child care.
Deona Duncan - a single mom and sole provider for three children - can't miss work.
"I have to operate when work operates, otherwise I won't have a job," she said.
Mom Lydia Taylor is thinking long-term.
"If it goes longer than a few days then I am going to be concerned because the kids are going to have to make that up somewhere," she said.
Tuesday night news advisory from Seattle Public Schools
September 8, 2015
Seattle Public Schools' teachers declare intent to strike
No start of school tomorrow
SEATTLE – Seattle Public Schools' teachers have declared a strike against the district, effective at midnight September 9, 2015. There will be no school tomorrow, the originally scheduled first day of school. A collective bargaining agreement could not be reached.
Seattle Education Association (SEA), the union that represents the district's educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals notified Superintendent Larry Nyland and the School Board by letter earlier tonight. The notification of intent to strike, was made prior to the Board's decision to approve a resolution that would allow appropriate legal action. This allows the superintendent to take necessary action he deems appropriate to protect and serve the districts' interests should there be a strike.
Mediators were brought in to assist with the negotiation process last week. The two sides held bargaining sessions throughout the day today. After a brief break, SEA informed the district talks had concluded for the night and announced their intent to strike. The district's bargaining team has made themselves available to meet with SEA's bargaining team at any time.
The district has partnered with the City of Seattle on child care options including Seattle Parks and Recreation and some SPS daycares will remain open.
SPS and SEA have the same shared goal of providing a quality education for our 53,000 students. The district is hopeful for a swift resolution and those students can start their school year soon.
Bargaining updates and information including child care options can be found on the SPS website: http://bit.ly/1fWaso3
Resources for parents:
- Seattle Public Schools' list of school-based child care providers
- FAQ from Seattle Public Schools on potential strike, contract talks and child care options