AUGUST 3, 2018

Teams Dig Into Finances, Compensation
The state has sent an approximately $100 million increase in revenue to Seattle Public Schools, perhaps the largest single annual increase in history, all due to the McCleary lawsuit initiated by WEA (and supported by SPS and other districts).

The state also rolled back the amount of money school districts can collect from their local voters, beginning in January. With a higher proportion of levy funding that most other districts, this has a somewhat larger negative impact in Seattle than others.

"The upshot? SPS should give a significant raise this year and then together we need to push the legislature to lift the levy lid," said Michael Tamayo, SEA vice president. "We hear from educators every day who are weighing job offers from competing districts. That will only increase if we don't keep pace."

In bargaining this week, District representatives named raising salaries to compete with other Districts as their top interest.

That's great to hear, but regardless of what other Districts do, the cost of living in Seattle is outrageous. Paraprofessionals, office professionals and certificated staff need a Seattle-level living wage regardless of what happens elsewhere.

See KIRO TV's terrific interview with special ed teacher and bargaining team member Kelly Robideau as she lays it out for viewers. View Here.


Special Education
Our special ed bargaining teams are developing what could be important advances in the quality of services to students, especially in the areas of parapro training and relief in urgent situations.

"Most paras start as substitutes, usually with no training and a limited idea what they are getting into," said Celina Austin, special education IA at McGilvra Elementary. "Our teams are working on a real training program for para subs, and on creating a pool of experienced paras to be assigned to buildings in crisis."

Right now a building can apply to a relief fund for immediate help. That help is often in the form of posting a job for a substitute parapro.

"That process brings another adult to the room, but we'd like to be able to guarantee that they are actually an experienced para, and perhaps even a behavior expert," said Austin.

The District has repeatedly noted that per student special ed spending is much higher in Seattle than elsewhere, making them somewhat reluctant to approve new investments.

But SEA members have identified an investment that could improve services and potentially rein in escalating costs.

"Principals, parents and educators know that IA support can be critical for students to succeed in inclusion," said Maggie Burgess, special ed teacher. "But without an IA available in continuum resource programs, that leads to more kids in the Access program, which is way more expensive."

Adding an IA in continuum resource programs would have an upfront cost, but we believe it would lead to fewer kids being placed in the more restrictive Access program, and potentially result in both cost savings and more appropriate placement.

Parental Leave: New Developments

SEA members all around the District named paid parental leave and more personal leave as high priorities in our building bargaining meetings earlier this spring.

The state has actually stepped up in this arena (yes, you read that correctly). In addition to a new statewide parental leave insurance benefit that goes into effect January 1, 2020, the state has also passed new regulations allowing state employees (including school district employees) to use up to 16 weeks from your sick leave bank for parental leave (i.e. not simply pregnancy disability).

Additionally, the state is also allowing staff to use shared leave for this purpose, which is especially important since parental leave is often needed most by staff with fewer years of experience and therefore less accumulated sick leave.

Our teams have also been discussing personal leave - currently two days per year - and the merits of increasing that allotment.

What's Next?
Make sure to like and follow the SEA Facebook and Twitter pages. We will be sharing bargaining team testimonials and additional updates there. In addition to 35+ members of our bargaining team, we have another 25 Zone Captains (by high school feeder pattern) who are connecting with building reps on a regular basis so that we remain well organized!

SEA General Membership Meeting
Vote on Agreement or an Action Plan
Tuesday, August 28
5PM - Benaroya Hall
Downtown Seattle

If you would like to help ensure smooth sign in and process for the GMM, please let your building rep know ASAP that you are willing to help. The Zone captains will be looking to recruit folks in the coming weeks.  
After working summer school or taking a little bit of time off, our 35 member bargaining team was back at the table last week, and we'll be bargaining 10 or more of the next 15 days! Our sister WEA unions around the state are also heading back to the table in their local districts. We have
Bargaining sessions next week:
Monday, August 6th: Substitutes and Racial Equity bargaining.
Friday, August 10th: Compensation and follow-up on other issues.
It's a challenge to publish a Unity when we are at the table several days in a row, so watch Facebook for updates all week until our next Unity!


>>>>> QUICK NOTES <<<<<

Pearl Jam is partnering with  Donors Choose to support educators creating classroom projects focusing on students experiencing homelessness.
Here is the link to the Pearl Jam web page with the link to the Donors Choose site. There you will find the criteria for the grants.
Within schools, educators are often the first point of contact. Wherever you teach, student homelessness exists. In fact, children and youth experience homelessness in the United States at the same rates in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Educators who know they have students experiencing homelessness are especially encouraged to post projects, while educators in any community can play a role by working with students to help children and youth experiencing homelessness in your district or community.
The full-year school calendar and work calendars for 2018-19 have been  posted! Click here to view.

Don't miss out 
on breaking SEA text alerts: text SEATTLEEA  to 41411 to stay informed!


Thank you all for your generous donations to those who share their need for leave. 

Members can access the shared leave form to donate hours by clicking HERE. Forms can be submitted to or FAXED to 206-252-0021 or mailed to Seattle Public Schools, MS 33-380, PO Box 34165, Seattle, WA 98124-1165.

Seattle Education Association
5501 4th Ave S, Ste 101
Seattle, WA 98108

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