UPDATE (6:18 p.m.) – The teachers union is preparing to begin voting now.
There’s no tentative agreement yet between the Tacoma Education Association (TEA) and the Tacoma School District, union officials told teachers who gathered this afternoon at Mount Tahoma High School.
“Hopefully, we’ll start school tomorrow,” said teacher Michael Merrill, as he was entering the meeting.
Merrill, a 26-year-teacher who teaches at Lincoln High School, said seniority is the main issue for him.
The school district today announced that it had made changes in its proposals, including a proposal to keep class sizes unchanged. That issue has been a major sticking point with teachers, who say increased class sizes would be bad for students. Earlier, the district had proposed increasing class size to save money.
The district also said today that it wants to continue to base layoff decisions on the “current system that relies on seniority, while retaining flexibility in the assignment and reassignment of teachers.”
TEA President Andy Coons told teachers today that the district proposal would be too subjective, and “open to abuse and manipulation.”
Teachers are meeting now to decide their next steps. Union officials say that it will take a vote of 80 percent of their membership – more than 1,600 votes – to call a strike.
School is scheduled to start Thursday.
The Tacoma School Board gathered in executive session this afternoon to discuss the state of labor negotiations with the union.