FAQ on school hours
How do we determine the length of the student day and the certificated work day?
The length of the student day is determined in contract bargaining. It's six hours at the elementary level (or six hours and ten minutes to accommodate bus schedules), and it is six and one-half hours at secondary. Starting in 2017-18, K-8s and elementary schools will be on the same student and staff schedules. The student day will lengthen by twenty minutes in 2017-18 as well.
The staff day in all schools is 7.5 hours. It will remain at 7.5 hours in 2017-18, even though the student day lengthens. Stanford Center and certain other certificated employees have an eight hour day.
Our school day is longer than the contract says. The principal says we agreed to make an exception. Are exceptions possible?
Principals can't make agreements with their staff that differ from the contract without going through the official SEA waiver process, even if the building's union reps (Association Reps or ARs) agree to it, or if the BLT agrees to it, or even if the staff votes for it. That's known as "direct dealing", and it's illegal under state labor law. Our contract is negotiated collectively by all of us, and changes to it must be approved by our SEA Board (through the waiver process), which is a union-wide elected body.
As of October 2016, only one school has an approved waiver for a longer student day: Rainier Beach. RB staff are being paid for this additional time by a grant.
Can we shift the time when staff have to report to work and when they leave?
Principals have discretion to grant flexibility to an individual's start and end time to accommodate personal or family needs (see Article IX.A.10). Changes to start and end times which cover multiple staff not related to personal or family needs are subject to the SEA waiver process.
Our school has a rule that students get into their seats five minutes before the first bell. Is that rule okay?
Individual teachers can make their own decision about opening their classroom early. By our contract, the time before the bell is time for teachers and other staff to prepare for the day, so rules like that which place requirements on teachers during that time period cannot be adopted or enforced by a school.