UPDATE: Seattle teachers vote to approve new labor contract


SEATTLE — UPDATE: Teachers voted Tuesday night to approve the new contract, a union representative said. Paraeducators and office professionals voted yes shortly before 8 p.m., ahead of the teachers' vote.

Wednesday, Sept. 4, is expected to be the first day of school for grades 1 through 12 in Seattle. Kindergarten classes begin on Sept. 9.

See the full update from reporter Micheal Spears below.

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ORIGINAL TEXT: Seattle teachers may approve a new contract deal Tuesday night.

The Seattle teachers' union and Seattle Public Schools reached a tentative agreement over the weekend.

With just about a week before classes are scheduled to start​​​​​​, teachers will vote at Benaroya Hall on whether to accept the proposed contract.

Teachers had rallied outside the district headquarters last week but ended up working out a possible deal after the technical 5 p.m. deadline Saturday.

The raise that Seattle teachers and classified employees were fighting for is expected to be 11.1% over the next three years, according to a tentative agreement.

According to the agreement, teachers will see a 5% pay raise in the first year, a 2.1% increase in the second year and 4% in the third year.

The bump would increase teachers' salary range between $63,000 to $124,000 a year by the fall of 2021.

Paraprofessionals, classified and clerical employees are expected to get 5% the first year of the contract, 2.1% the second and another 5% in the third year.

This is the second year in a row that teachers rallied for a new contract.

The teachers' union,  Seattle Education Association, told KIRO 7 the biggest divide was over pay.

One person said, "The sticking points are, we're here for student supports. We are supportive. If we have a stable teaching force, that is student support. That is compensation. It's hard to live in Seattle right now."

The teachers' strike last year was approved but narrowly avoided.

After lengthy negotiations last year, teachers' salaries were increased by 10.5 percent.

This year, SEA is also asking for other things, like expansion of teams that focus on racial equity issues and more counselors and nurses.

KIRO 7 talked with a counselor during a recent rally about the current challenges.

"Some people are ranging from 400 to 700 students per counselor. And it's hard to serve and do a really great job," a counselor said.

If the tentative agreement is approved, it is expected to last longer than a year.