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Seattle teachers increase pressure with strike vote

Seattle teachers voted Tuesday night to strike if they can't reach a contract deal with the district by Sept. 5.

Money is a key sticking point.

The Seattle school district says increases in state funding under the McCleary decision are offset by new rules that don’t allow it to raise as much local tax money as it once did.

"While I can sympathize with that, I also know that we got more money from the state than we ever got,” said Jesse Hagopian, who teaches at Garfield High and is a union representative at the school. “Seattle has the largest reserve fund than of any district."

One thing parents around the region are worried about — will my kids start school or will I have to arrange care for them?

Hagopian says he understands that a strike would be tough on families.

"I myself am a father of a new kindergartner and it'll be a strain on me as well,” he said. “But I'll tell you this: If school doesn't start on time, the students of Seattle will get a first-class education in the power of solidarity and struggle in pursuit of social justice."

Teachers and supporters were rallying outside of Seattle schools on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, in Kent, the teachers union said Wednesday morning it had reached a tentative deal on a contract. Classes are scheduled to start Thursday.

Other districts are still trying to hash out deals:

Tacoma: The union president said no progress was made during talks Tuesday, and she now wants to bring in a mediator to help overcome the impasse.

Tumwater: Teachers have voted to strike.

Puyallup: Teachers there will be rallying Wednesday as they try to reach a new deal.

La Conner: Some good news for parents. A tentative agreement was reached Wednesday.

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