Students and teachers will be back in school Monday after the Snoqualmie Valley School District reached an agreement with teachers.
The Washington Education Association said the agreement is expected to avert a teacher’s strike that had been set to begin Monday if no settlement was in place.
Sunday night, just 59% of the teachers voted to approve the deal that offers incentives to the district to keep class sizes smaller. The divided vote seemed to signal that many teachers were not thrilled with the deal that was presented.
Some said they were concerned it didn’t do enough to keep those class sizes smaller. Elementary school teacher Suzanne Spuhler said the negotiations had been tough on everyone.
“I’ve been stressed, students are stressed and parents are stressed,” Spuhler said. “Hopefully it will be good and we can move on,” she explained.
Teachers like Karen Eddy say they’re concerned that larger classes are hurting children. “They need the attention and to me that's the bottom line, that's why we teach,” she said.
Eddy had more than 30 students in her class last year and said it wasn’t just the educational aspects that were impacted. “I used to know what their dog's name was, what they did last weekend…” she said. “I can't anymore, but it's so important to the kids.”
After a closed door debate, teachers approved the deal but some said there was a price to pay for their compromise.
The compromise seemed to be good news for parents. Julie Brown said they hoped the teachers would get a “good deal”.
Brown said her son was hoping for more summer, but she's glad he’s heading back to school. “He thinks he doesn't love school, but the grin on his face when he gets off the bus is priceless” Brown said.
District representatives said their side had to compromise, as well. They said they would have to go back and look at the budget and reprioritize to come up with the money to meet their end of the deal.