Teachers, parents and students sat with baited breath, waiting to hear if school would really start on time. However, the news is in. The contract has been adopted and school is in full swing. School started on Wednesday, September 4th.
Kids milled around outside their classroom doors while teachers frantically laid out paperwork and made sure the nametags were straight. Every year the dance begins. However, this year was a little different. There really had been a chance school would have started a little later.
So, what happened? The teachers took a vote and approved the contract. But, what does that really mean? What was on the new contract?
“I trust their work,” Eckstein Middle School teacher Kristin Bailey-Fogerty said before the vote, referring to the teachers’ bargaining team.
There isn’t anything in the proposal that’s worth a rejection vote.”
Some things which were voted on and approved include 30 more minutes added to the day of an elementary school teacher, a pay raise for teachers, settled caseloads for support workers, and new contracts for paraprofessionals, classroom aides and secretaries.
As for the adding of 30 minutes to the day of an elementary school teacher, they already work many, many more hours outside their “regular day.” So, an additional 30 minutes seems like nothing. There will be a lot of flexibility around how to spend it.
The teacher raise sounded good to many, since it’s the largest raise they’ve had in five years. It keeps Seattle at one of the highest paid districts around. However, many teachers argue that the cost of living is higher here as well. A good point.
One point of contention was the ability of the district to tie test scores to teacher evaluation. Many thought it was the wrong way to go. They argued that there must be other more apt evaluation systems.
In any case, what’s done is done. Teachers and kids are back, and everyone’s moving forward.