Seattle teacher strike persists, no classes Monday

SEATTLE (AP) — Students in Seattle on Monday will miss a fourth day of school as teachers strike over pay and classroom support.

The school district Sunday afternoon announced the cancellation of Monday classes and said negotiations with the union were ongoing.

“We are optimistic an agreement will be reached soon so that students can begin school,” Seattle Public Schools said.

The strike began Wednesday, what was supposed to be the first day of school for the approximately 49,000 students in the district.

Striking teachers said their main concern was educational and emotional help for students, especially those with special needs or learning difficulties. The Seattle Education Association said 95% of its voting members approved the strike.

In Seattle, the school district had offered pay raises of an additional 1% above the 5.5% cost-of-living increase set by state lawmakers — far less than the union says it wants — plus one-time bonuses for certain teachers, including $2,000 for third-year Seattle teachers earning an English language or dual-language endorsement.

The union says it is opposing the district’s efforts to eliminate staffing ratios for special education students, saying that will mean more work for general education teachers and special education teachers alike.

Districts around the country have faced labor challenges as the pandemic put extraordinary stress on teachers and students.

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