Citing concerns about workload, special education, equity, and the erosion of pay and benefits, the SEA executive board has officially requested to open bargaining with the school district in advance of the expiration of all three of our contracts on August 31st.
In an April 6th letter to SPS superintendent Larry Nyland, the SEA board cited the important role that collective bargaining plays for students:
“Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Mutual understanding of our interestsprovides a basis to ensure that our students’ learning conditions are the best that they can be, and that the dignity and contributions of all educators – paraprofessional, office professionals and certificated staff – are recognized and valued.”
While we are still analyzing our record-breaking number of bargaining surveys returned, several top issues clearly have emerged, and the Board previewed those for the superintendent:
“We look forward to working with you to address our workload concerns; the erosion of our pay and benefits; the ongoing struggle to provide quality special education, including acceptable ESA caseloads; the substitute shortage; and an evaluation system that still falls short of fostering a growth mindset.
We also look forward to finding constructive approaches to eliminating disproportionate disciplining of students of color and narrowing the opportunity gap overall, which includes increasing social supports for students and engagement of families; as well finding ways to reduce the impact of standardized testing on instructional time and school culture while supporting best practices in assessment.”
The state legislature has yet to settle on a final budget. That budget as well as pending legislation covering everything from evaluations to health benefits will all have to be factored into our bargaining. The first day of bargaining is set for May 20. The full text of the SEA Board’s letter to Nyland can be found here.
The updated list of delegates for the WEA Representative Assembly and NEA Representative Assembly is in!
Click HERE to view the results.
As a reminder to delegates , the WEA Representative Assembly is going to be April 23-25, 2015 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue. 11100 NE 6th Street, Bellevue, WA 98004
Click HERE to see the info page from the WEA website.
The NEA Representative Assembly is going to be July 1-6, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.
Click HERE to see the info page from the WEA website.
Thank you for voting!
The SEA Elections Committee
April 2, 2015 UPDATE:
Proposed 2015-16 School Year Calendar -
A draft calendar has been proposed for the 2015-16 school year and is going before the Seattle Public Schools School Board Executive Committee on April 2, 2015. It will be introduced to the board at the April 22 school board meeting and the board will take action on it May 6.
Draft important dates under consideration by the school board:
Sept. 9: Start of school
Dec. 21-Jan 4: Winter break
Feb. 15-19: Mid-winter break
April 11-15: Spring break
June 23: Last day of school
Again, these are still draft dates until the school board votes. Upon approval (or changes and approval) this information will be updated and families will receive communications on the approved calendar.
Back in early November, in keeping with the recent pattern of alternating between long and short midwinter breaks, SEA proposed to the District that we use the same calendar format we used in 2013-14 again next year:
- Start school the Wednesday after Labor Day
- Same two week winter break as we have done traditionally
- One full week break in February
Our contract sets a January 31st deadline to determine the following year’s calendar when one hasn’t set in previous contract negotiations. The District has informed us that they are in still in deliberation over their response to SEA. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the District for more information.
On Tuesday January 27, 2015 SEA member Rachelle Moore testified in front of the U.S. Senate Education Committee about ESEA reauthorization. Rachelle teaches 1st grade at Madrona K-8, is a mentor teacher in the Seattle Teacher Residency, and is National Board certified. She was the only witness to testify who is a public school teacher.
Thank You to Senator Patty Murray for working with us to get a teacher voice in front of the committee.
Check out Rachelle’s testimony here.
WEA Pre-Retirement Seminar
SEA Retired will be hosting two WEA Pre-Retirement seminars this coming year. These seminars are intended to prepare our members for future retirements. They are intended to help individuals plan for their future. The target audience is for members planning to retire in five to seven years out. Registration is, however, not limited to that demographic.
The seminar covers the following basics:
- Social Security and Medicare
- State Pension Plans – TRS I, II, and III
- State Medical Benefits
- Investment planning
- Estate Planning
Registration is limited to 30 people per session so the presenters can fully engage with each individual.
To register, click HERE to access the form.
"McCleary" lawyer Tom Ahearne (above, left) gave a great presentation Tues. evening on the meaning of the "McCleary" decision and on the implications for the upcoming legislative session. Also presenting was Andy Nicholas (second from right) of the Washington Budget and Policy Center about the inadequacy of Washington's revenue system. The event was co-sponsored by SEA, the Seattle Council PTSA (Eden Mack, right), and the League of Women Voters of Seattle. Great turnout!
SEA Welcomes the New Superintendent
SEA members feel the impact of the continuous churn of senior leadership at the district level. It produces a situation where nothing substantive gets done. In spite of the school board’s failure to develop a good process of stakeholder consultation, it is a positive development to see that the district has retained a leader who looks to be capable of moving forward with improvements to district systems. There is significant work remaining to be done in Special Education, Human Resources, and Teaching and Learning that will benefit from a strong overarching vision and coherent implementation.
Dr. Nyland is an experienced educator in Washington state. He guided Marysville for 9 years after the previous superintendent‘s tenure ended with a strike by educators. When he was in Highline he bargained contracts for Highline School District with then-HEA-president, and now SEA Executive Director, John Donaghy. “Nyland was a good collaborator and problem solver at the bargaining table,” said Donaghy.
“Some people believe that the only way to get a good superintendent is to have a national or regional search,” said Jonathan Knapp, SEA President. “We have been through a few of those in Seattle and experience has shown that there is no guarantee you will end up with the qualities you want or with the “fit” that you are looking for. While Dr. Nyland will still have to earn the confidence of SEA’s members, we’re happy to see that the school board didn’t let the image of the perfect off in the distance somewhere be the enemy of the tangible good right here and now.”