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    The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Seattle Education Association (SEA) began negotiations May 20 to achieve a new collective bargaining contract.  SEA represents educators, substitutes, paraprofessionals, instructional assistants and office professionals. The current contract with SEA expires August 31. The educators and staff in our schools are crucial to student success. Due to the importance of our teachers and instructional staff and significance of this agreement to our students, I want to keep you updated on our progress.  A previous update was sent to parents and community on August 10.

    Higher Standards
    Higher standards (college and career readiness) as well as state mandates will require us to provide students with more instructional time at the primary and secondary level. In order to provide elementary students with social and emotional learning, academic assurances, as well as lunch and recess, and to graduate high school students with 24 credits and college and career readiness, we’ll need to provide more instructional time. The district is proposing to add thirty (30) minutes of instructional time to the school day for students, to support higher standards and state mandates. 

    Special Education (SPED) 
    There is significant work to do to support our special education students. SPS Special Education department, under the direction of Wyeth Jesse, has worked very hard to meet compliance challenges, and continues efforts on meeting legal assurances.  To that end, SPS has offered a proposal that would maintain ratios of Special Education Instructional Assistants (IAs), and also work to ensure paraprofessionals are appropriately assigned work in buildings, to support the legal assurances our special education students need. 

    Equity and the Achievement Gap 
    Both the district and SEA care deeply about these issues. I am confident we will find common ground to address equity issues to close the achievement gap. 

    Compensation is an issue both the district and SEA are working on to find mutual ground.  SEA has proposed a salary increase of 21% over a three year contract period. SPS has countered with a salary increase of 7% over the same three year contract period.  

    SEA meets on Monday, August 24, for members to vote on a tentative agreement, or a union action plan. I’ll continue to update you on our progress together and post updates on the district web site.    

    Best regards,

    Dr. Larry Nyland