Union leaders said the pay increases are the biggest that teachers have received in five years. By some counts, the new contract will maintain Seattle as one of the top-paid districts in the Puget Sound area, although some teachers point out that the cost of living is higher here, too.
Though the district succeeded in adding 30 minutes to elementary-school teachers’ workday, putting them on par with their middle- and high-school counterparts, it compromised in how they can use that time, with teachers retaining much flexibility.
The agreement also calls for the district to work toward setting limits in the caseloads for school psychologists, speech therapists, and occupational and physical therapists, and a pledge to add more such employees.
Two other groups within the SEA approved new contracts on Tuesday, too — paraprofessionals, such as classroom aides, and school secretaries.