Seattle-area teacher strikes could postpone the first day of school
In the Puget Sound area, strikes are still possible in Tukwila and Tacoma, where new agreements have yet to be reached.
Seattle Public Schools
Update: The district and the Seattle Education Association arrived at a tentative contract agreement on Friday, paving the way for school to start Wednesday, Sept. 5 for grades 1-12 and Monday, Sept. 10, for kindergarten.
The SEA membership will vote on the proposed contract on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Teachers previously had voted to authorize a strike if a deal were not reached by Sept. 5.
After Friday's development, the union on its Facebook page reported: "Our bargaining team reached a Tentative Agreement (TA)! School starts as scheduled on Wednesday. Membership meeting Saturday at Benaroya to vote on the contract. Board of Directors will review the TA Tuesday. Details released after that."
The district also gave no details about the possible contract, but said in its update: "One priority issue during negotiations has been educator compensation. Our bargaining team has worked hard to provide the best compensation package we can possibly afford ..."
According to an update Monday from the Washington Education Association, the union's statewide organization, teachers in several Southwest Washington districts reached deals over the weekend, but teachers in Evergreen (Vancouver area), Battle Ground, Washougal, Tumwater and Longview do not have agreements and remain on strike.
Teachers in Centralia, Puyallup, Stanwood-Camano, Tukwila, Arlington, Conway, South Whidbey, Monroe and Wapato have voted to strike if they don’t have agreements by the start of school this week, the union reported.
Tacoma teachers also are threatening to strike and will vote Tuesday if last-minute talks Monday do not product an agreement; school there is scheduled to start Thursday.
Kent School District
Update: Classes will start in Kent on Thursday after the Kent School District and its teachers came to an agreement with not much time to spare.
Kent School District posted the following on its website Wednesday evening: "Kent Education Association (KEA) members approved the tentative agreement at the membership meeting today. We are looking forward to seeing all staff and students arrive safely and on time for the first day of school tomorrow, August 30. Thank you to our KEA and KSD bargaining teams. Have a wonderful 2018-19 school year!"
The Kent Education Association posted news of the ratification vote on its Facebook page.
Highline School District
UPDATE, Monday: The Highline District south of Seattle announced Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement with its teachers union, the Highline Education Association, and that classes would start as scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Neither the district nor the union has yet offered any details on the agreement or when a ratification vote would take place.
Original post: The Highline Education Association has authorized a strike in the event a deal is not reached by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4. School is scheduled to start Sept. 5 in this district south of Seattle. Talks are set to resume Monday, according to social-media posts by the union.