One day after rejecting the district’s contract offer, dozens of Seattle teachers went straight to Superintendent Jose Banda’s office to deliver a message.
They held signs signed by teachers that read, “Superintendent Banda: We call on Seattle Public Schools to bargain a fair contract that respects staff and supports a high quality education for our students.”
The sticking points include adding an extra half hour to the work day for elementary teachers, using test scores in evaluating teachers, and not reducing the amount of work that therapists, psychologists and nurses face.
“I watch not only co-workers on the therapy staff, but other ESA's, psychologists, speech and language pathologists whose case loads keep going higher and higher and higher and they're holding on by the skin of their teeth,” said Carolyn Kelly, an occupational therapist.
Kelly Riggle Hower, a kindergarten and first grade teacher, said the issue over a longer work day isn’t about the money.
“It's really not about, 'This is too much work for us.' It's really about moving the focus from where it needs to be and it's disrespectful,” said Hower.
Nearly all 1,500 teachers voted last night to reject the district’s offer. Both sides are back at the bargaining table today.
“There have been negotiations that have gone all night long and we're willing to do that. Our team is willing to do that. If we have to stay here all night long, we're willing to do that,” said Phyllis Campano, Vice-President of Seattle Education Association.
The next vote takes place on September 3 at the Seattle Education Association members meeting.