Union votes to suspend strike, school begins Thursday for 53,000 Seattle students

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SEATTLE — Despite a tentative agreement, parents took to the streets on Tuesday backing teachers.

“We are doing this because a tentative agreement is not a full agreement,” Rachel Katz Carey said.

Hundreds marched through the streets of Sodo converging on Seattle Public Schools headquarters.

One bystander spoke up upset over the rally saying he didn’t believe in strikes.

“I think it can be settled in other ways I think it’s selfish to strike when your kids are in the middle of a school year,” Cary Adams said.

The two sides negotiated for 20 hours straight before announcing the deal early Tuesday morning.

“It felt at all times as if we were on a knives edge, in the end we found common ground,” Geoff Miller lead bargainer for the district said.

“Tentative agreement means the team thought this was good that we should bring it forward to the membership for approval,” Seattle Education Association President Jonathan Knapp said.

The union says the details on pay hikes, longer work days for teachers and standardized testing will not be released until all their members vote on the tentative agreement.

In the meantime the school district is moving forward on starting school on Thursday.

“Because the strike went on for several days, the logistics of getting transportation, food etc back will take a little bit of time,” Seattle Public Schools Spokesperson Stacy Howard said.

The district says their focus now is on healing.

“Even though the strike did not last long it’s always difficult to overcome a situation like this,” Ballard High Principal Keven Wynkoop said.

SPS says they are also in the middle of finding the best plan to make up missed school days.

“I am ok with however they decide to make it up Saturdays, cut mid winter break whatever needs to be done,” parent Dawnelle De Marco said.

Union leaders and more than a 100 representatives met Tuesday afternoon to hear about the details of the tentative agreement. After a three-hour private meeting, the teachers voted to suspend the strike.

The entire union membership will still need to meet to vote on the tentative agreement.

That vote could happen this weekend.

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