Yesterday should have been the first day of school across Seattle, Washington. Instead, the kids are staying home, and the 5,000 teachers and other public school workers of Seattle are refusing to work until the state allocates more money for pay raises (which haven't happened in six years) and increased "instructional time," the Seattle Times reports. And the state isn't laying down easily:
Seattle teachers are on strike Wednesday, the first time in 30 years they have walked out over stalled contract negotiations with the city’s school district.
And just minutes after the Seattle Education Association bargaining team made its announcement Tuesday evening, the Seattle School Board voted to authorize the superintendent to seek legal action to try to force teachers and other school employees back to work.
School was canceled again today, and it doesn't sound like a resolution is arriving anytime soon: the Seattle Times reports the district is claiming there just isn't enough money to fulfill the educators' demands.
Washington state public schools are already in financial turmoil as the result of a recent Supreme Court ruling. Via the New York Times:
Washington State’s highest court declared last week that much of the law underpinning the new charter school system around the state was unconstitutional. The court set a 20-day clock, at which time the charter system could be dismantled—a step that legal experts said no other state court had ever taken. The State Supreme Court, the panel that struck down the charter law, last month began assessing $100,000 a day in fines on the state until the Legislature comes up with a plan to better fund the system as a whole.
Because Washington state doesn't have a statewide income tax, the state's been scrambling to find an alternative way to fund public education. Perhaps the strike will provide that impetus.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.