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SEATTLE -- A mediator is joining teacher contract talks in Seattle. Both sides say they hope the mediator will help them resolve their remaining disagreements and avoid a teachers strike.

The Seattle Times reports the mediator is from the Public Employment Relations Commission. Union President Jonathan Knapp says the two sides are just finding it hard to come to agreement on some issues.

He wouldn t give details about what s under discussion, however, saying the union made a commitment to the district remain quiet about this part of the negotiations.

In recent weeks, both sides have said the main disagreements center on how to use test scores in evaluating teachers, whether to add 30 minutes to elementary teachers official workday, the size of teacher raises, and the size of caseloads for school staff such as psychologists and physical and occupational therapists.

Talks are set resume midday Saturday. School is scheduled to start Wednesday.

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