Seattle students wait on decision for Monday classes as contract negotiations continue

·2 min read

Almost 50,000 students in Seattle Public Schools could find out over the weekend if they’ll start classes on Monday, as negotiations between the teachers union and the district continued on Friday.

The teachers union says if there’s no tentative agreement reached by Friday, it has already scheduled a bargaining session to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The district said it would notify families by 3 p.m. Friday if classes would be canceled for Monday, but officials later said a decision for a Monday start would come over the weekend.

As negotiations continue, educators have been picketing in front of schools.

Outside of Rising Star Elementary in Beacon Hill, teachers were chanting, “Education is a right.”

Seattle Public Schools educators want to see special education and multilingual support on paper, along with workload relief and respectful pay.

“We’re not getting paid for those extra hours, we’re being expected to give a lot of free labor and it’s not fair for us, that burnout is so serious right now,” said Ibi Joke Idowu, a special education teacher at Rising Star Elementary.

Stephanie Lewis said that as her child is starting kindergarten, she noticed the urgency for multilingual support during orientation.

“In this school, so for example, with the kindergarten connections, meetings, our teachers were working so hard to get translators because at our school, we have many English language learners,” said Lewis.

With kids not in school, some parents are concerned about options for child care.

“We’ve been lucky that our son is still in his old day care this week, and next week it seems like the park district has stepped up; and since he’s in an aftercare program, if the strike is continuing, he’ll be able to participate through the park district in care,” said Lewis.

Six Boys & Girls Clubs across Seattle are offering free full-day programming, but the catch is that it’s only for families who are currently enrolled, and most clubs are already at capacity. The Boys & Girls Club also said that its Rotary Club would accept new kids if the strike continues. For more information on how to sign up, click here.

The city says it will offer Recreation Activity Hubs at eight designated community centers starting on Monday.

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will have access to free recreational programs and activities.

Registration for the Recreation Activity Hubs is now open.