Seattle schools to be closed again on Monday in teachers strike

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Seattle Schools Stay Closed Due to Teachers Strike



Seattle's 53,000 public school students were put on notice that classes would be canceled for a fourth day on Monday due to the city's teachers strike as renewed contract talks between the union and school district stretched through the weekend.

Some 5,000 teachers and support staff walked off the job and onto picket lines last Wednesday, which was to have been the first day of the new school year, after negotiations collapsed the night before in disagreement over wages, hours and performance evaluations.

One of the teachers' chief grievances is that they have received no cost-of-living raise in six years despite surging living expenses in Seattle, particularly for housing, fueled largely by growth in the city's technology sector.

The strike, which has left many working parents scrambling to improvise childcare arrangements, marked the first labor-related disruption of classes in three decades for the largest public education system in the Pacific Northwest.

See photos of teachers on the picket lines:

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Seattle schools to be closed again on Monday in teachers strike
A member of the Seattle Education Association, the union that represents striking teachers from the Seattle School District, wears a union t-shirt as members sign in to receive voting cards, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, during a gathering at a meeting hall in Seattle to discuss a tentative contract agreement that was reached with the district Tuesday morning, the fifth day of the strike. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
CORRECTS DATE TO TUESDAY, SEPT 15, Striking Seattle teachers and supporters march on a picket line Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, at Loyal Heights Elementary School in Seattle. Seattle teachers announced Tuesday that they reached a tentative agreement with the city's school district, but said they're remaining on picket lines pending the deal's approval. (AP Photo/Phuong Le)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line on a pedestrian overpass, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, near Franklin High School in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2015, file photo, striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line past an image of Martin Luther King Jr., at Franklin High School in Seattle. The city opened more of its community centers Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, to help Seattle parents who were scrambling for child care as a teacher strike entered its fourth day. Several of the centers quickly filled, forcing them to turn families away. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, near Franklin High School in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line on a pedestrian overpass, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, near Franklin High School in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, near Franklin High School in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line on a pedestrian overpass, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, near Franklin High School in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, near Franklin High School in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Striking Seattle School District teachers and other educators walk a picket line on a pedestrian overpass, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, in front of Franklin High School in Seattle. The strike comes as teachers in Seattle have gone six years without a cost-of-living pay increase. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ever Eugenir, right, an instructional assistant who works with students learning to speak English at Franklin High School, stands with other striking Seattle School District teachers on a picket line in front of the school, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, in front of Franklin High School in Seattle. Eugenir made his own sign with the word "strike" shown in Spanish and Tagalog, two of the languages spoken by students he teachers. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Teachers at West Seattle Elementary School begin walking a picket line Wednesday morning, Sept. 9, 2015, in Seattle after last-minute negotiations over wages and other issues failed to avert a strike in Washington state's largest school district. Classes for 53,000 Seattle Public Schools students were canceled Wednesday, on the scheduled first day of school. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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Representatives for both sides met separately with state mediators during the first three days of the strike but face-to-face talks between the parties did not resume until Saturday.

The two negotiating teams returned to the bargaining table on Sunday but with no apparent settlement immediately at hand school officials said all of the district's nearly 100 schools would be closed again on Monday.

District official Stacy Howard said at a news conference the strike has stretched on long enough that the district was considering moving graduation day and holiday breaks to account for the later start of the academic year.

Kindergartners, who usually start school later than other students, will now begin their school year at the same time as the higher grades, and three snow days the district has built into the year already have been used up, Howard said.

A new contract offer from the district, presented during Saturday talks, would set aside money to compensate teachers for a proposed increase in instructional time, Howard said.

Union officials said last week the district originally was seeking to lengthen the school day by 20 minutes with virtually no corresponding increase in pay for teachers.

The walkout comes at a time of increased scrutiny of education spending in the state. The Washington state Supreme Court last month fined the state $100,000 for every day it failed to present a court-ordered plan for fully funding public schools.

(Additional reporting and writing by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Steve Gorman and Bill Trott)

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