SPS-SEA Negotiations 2015

SPS-SEA Negotiations 2015
Posted on 09/15/2015

Update Sept. 15, 7 p.m. School starts Thurs., Sept. 17. Teachers return Wednesday, Sept. 16. SEA executive board and representative assembly voted to suspend strike Tuesday evening A full vote is expected on Sunday.

Update Sept. 15, 3 p.m.,SPS and SEA have reached a tentative agreement. Details have not yet been released to allow time for union membership to be informed and vote. We are planning for school to resume on Thursday, Sept. 17. Please continue to monitor this website for updates.

The bargaining teams worked all day and night to resolve differences, reaching a tentative agreement at 6:50 a.m. on Sept. 15.

“My sincere thanks to both of the bargaining teams and our mediators for working through the night to reach an agreement," said Superintendent Larry Nyland. "This is great news for our 53,000 students. We are eager to open schools, welcome students and begin learning.”  

To address questions during negotiations, the district established a message line. Questions left at 206-252-0207 or emailed to publicaffairs@seattleschools.org may be added to our FAQ page, which was substantially updated on Sept. 14.

Seattle Public Schools appreciates our teachers and educators. We have been diligently working to reach a fair agreement that puts students first, honors teachers, but is also fiscally sound.

We continue to work toward an agreement with Seattle Educational Association (SEA) that puts students and teachers back into classrooms and maintains financial sustainability for a district that serves 53,000 students across Seattle. Bargaining has been underway since May.

Schools will be closed until further notice

The district and SEA had come to agreement on many issues, including testing, recess time and strategies for closing the opportunity gap. However, until the tentative agreement on Sept. 15, there had been some unresolved points, including teacher and professional salaries. Below is a brief summary of the top issues in the negotiation.

Read the negotiation proposals and counter proposals on the Negotiation Proposals webpage.

Read the new introductions on our negotiation proposals status webpage.

Professional Pay

SPS is offering a substantial pay raise.

  • Our most recent publicly released offer provides a 14 percent pay raise over three years for teachers, including the state Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA). 

  • Our previous contract for SEA included raises for teachers despite no COLA from the state. In the most recent two years, teachers have received raises of 5.5 percent, exceeding the cost of inflation by nearly 2 percent.

We must protect the fiscal health of Seattle Public Schools as we support teachers.

  • The district is proposing a three-year contract that will cost $29.4 million over the first two years; SEA has proposed a two-year contract that is estimated to cost about $61 million, more than twice as much over the same period of time.

  • We are receiving $37.2 million in new revenue from the state, but only $9 million of that is unallocated.

  • Our proposals protect the district budget of about $22 million in rainy-day funds. These rainy day funds would cover about two weeks of expenses in an emergency, are required by the board, and are a minimum expectation for school districts.

Negotiation Status
In Negotiation: Teacher Salary: SPS presented a counter offer to SEA and we await a response.
Agreed: Paraprofessional and SAEOP Sub Salary: SPS and SEA have reached agreement.


The most recent SPS offer compensates teachers for the addition of 20 minutes of instructional time for students beginning in the third year of the contract.

  • We have increased our proposed pay raise to compensate teachers for this additional time.

  • SPS elementary students have one of the shortest instructional days in the state at six hours and ten minutes. Twenty more minutes helps our elementary schools align with those in other districts as well as our own K-8 schools.

  • In high schools, the additional instructional time will help meet the increased credit requirements coming from the state in 2017.

Negotiation Status
In Negotiation: SPS presented a counter offer to SEA and we await a response - Special Education teacher/student ratios and workload
In Negotiation: SPS presented a counter offer to SEA and we await a response - Educational Staff Associate (ESA) workload
Agreed: SPS and SEA have reached agreement - Seattle Association of Education Office Professionals workload (SAEOP)

Elementary Student Recess

We have a letter of agreement that all elementary schools will have a minimum of 30 minutes of recess each day.

Negotiation Status
Agreed: SPS and SEA have reached agreement.

Student Equity and Opportunity Gap

The SEA and the Seattle Public Schools continue to strive for a relationship that is focused on providing the best possible learning environment for students. It is the moral and ethical responsibility and a top priority for Seattle Public Schools to provide equity access and opportunity for every student, and to eliminate racial inequity in our educational and administrative system.

Negotiation Status
Agreed:SPS and SEA have reached agreement.

Student Testing

SPS and SEA agree that the evaluation process shall recognize strengths, identify areas needing improvement, and provide support for professional growth.

Negotiation Status
Agreed: SPS and SEA have reached agreement.

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