NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 13, 2010

The current collective bargaining agreement for the Seattle School District affects its ability to carry out its educational mission, according to the Washington Policy Center. 

According to the Center, most students in Seattle public schools lag in math and science learning, that only 63 percent of students graduate and less than half of African American and Hispanic students finish high school.   At the same time, the study finds the collective bargaining process has created a trend toward limiting duties and work hours, while increasing costs, salary levels, job security, and periods of paid time off for teachers and other District employees. 

Other findings: 

  • Teachers in Seattle receive an average of $70,850 for a 10-month year, plus $9,855 in benefits. Teachers can earn up to $88,463, or $98,318 including benefits.
  • Educational Staff Associates receive an average of $76,339 for a 10-month year, or $86,194 including benefits; 193 District employees receive more than $100,000 a year.
  • State law entitles public school students to 180 days of classroom instruction. Seattle students receive 177 days of instruction.
  • Teacher evaluations do not include measures of student progress. District employees can remove a poor annual performance report from their file after four years.
  • Paying union dues or an equivalent fee is mandatory for teachers; Seattle District officials transfer about $290,000 per month in education funds to union accounts in the form of dues and in a year, about $3.2 million is forwarded to the Seattle teachers' union. 

To address these shortcomings, the Washington Policy Center study recommends Seattle public schools: 

  • End the seniority rules that govern most displacements and layoffs.
  • Allow performance pay for teachers.
  • End the automatic transfer of education funding to union accounts in the form of monthly dues. 

Source: Observers, "Overview of the Seattle School District Collective Bargaining Agreement," Washington Policy Center, April 30, 2010. 


Browse more articles on Education Issues