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Seattle Teachers Going Back To School After Tentative Contract Deal Is Reached

Teachers walk the picket line outside Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash., last week. They're going back to work on the strength of a tentative contract agreement. Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters /Landov hide caption

toggle caption Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters /Landov

Teachers walk the picket line outside Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash., last week. They're going back to work on the strength of a tentative contract agreement.

Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters /Landov

Updated 11:10 p.m. ET

Leaders of Seattle's public school teachers voted Tuesday evening to suspend their week-old strike and return to work on Wednesday. The district's 53,000 students begin classes on Thursday.

The decision follows a tentative contract agreement which will go before the full membership for a vote on Sunday.

The Associated Press reports the plan includes a pay hike:

"[Union President Jonathan] Knapp said teachers would get a 9.5 percent raise over three years. When cost-of-living raises from the state are included, that would mean a 14.3 percent pay increase over that period, Knapp said.

"Teacher salaries in Seattle range now from about $44,000 to more than $86,000, depending on experience and education.

"The agreement also calls for a mandatory, daily 30-minute recess for elementary school students, more say for teachers about standardized testing and a longer school day, Knapp said."

Our original post

The dispute that has kept Seattle's 53,000 students from starting their school year could be over soon, after the local teachers union and the city's school district announced Tuesday morning they've reached a tentative contract agreement.

Until an agreement is ratified, teachers will continue the strike that began last Wednesday, the union says. The district says classes could begin as early as Thursday.

"The deal comes after a 20-hour bargaining marathon that ended at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday," reports local TV King 5 News, citing the district.

On Monday, Seattle's city council adopted a resolution of support for the teachers, in a unanimous vote.

The strike followed months of negotiations that didn't resolve major issues dividing the teachers and the school district. Pay, teacher evaluations and the length of the school day were key areas of disagreement.

On the salary topic, we reported last week:

"The school district had offered raises of '2 percent this year, 3.2 percent next year and 3.75 percent the year after that,' as member station KPLU reports. But the 5,000 members of the Seattle Education Association proposed "5 percent in the first year and 5.5 percent in the second year of a new deal."

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