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Seattle teachers reach tentative agreement on new labor contract – KIRO Seattle

The Seattle teachers’ union and Seattle Public Schools have reached a tentative agreement before school starts.

The Seattle Education Association said it would need to recommend approval of the agreement at a meeting on Tuesday.

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The agreement will be emailed to all members for review, SEA said.

Teachers had rallied outside the district headquarters earlier this week but ended up working out a deal after the technical 5 p.m. deadline Saturday.

This the second year in a row that teachers rallied for a new contract.

SEA told KIRO 7 the biggest divide is over pay.

One person said, “The sticking points are, we’re here for student supports. We are supportive. If we have a stable teaching force, that is student support. That is compensation. It’s hard to live in Seattle right now.”

The union did not say how much more pay they were asking for because of specific rules that require teachers to be informed first.

The school district said it has every intention of remaining competitive but must balance that against what it can afford. It also pointed out after lengthy negotiations last year, teachers’ salaries were increased by 10.5%.

The teachers’ strike last year was approved but narrowly avoided.

SEA is also asking for other things, like expansion of teams that focus on racial equity issues and more counselors and nurses.

KIRO 7 talked with a counselor during a recent rally about the current challenges.

“Some people are ranging from 400 to 700 students per counselor. And it’s hard to serve and do a really great job,” a counselor said.

If the tentative agreement is approved, it is expected to last longer than a year.