According to the Seattle Times, Seattle Public Schools announced today that it will shut down schools for one day before the start of the new school year on Sept. 7 to deal with budget cuts. It also plans to shut schools down an hour early on another day during the school year.
Principals have agreed to take Aug. 31 as a furlough day, and the district announced Wednesday that it has reached a tentative agreement with teachers and other school staff to do the same, plus a half-day later in the year.
The hope is to highlight the effect of the school spending reductions that state lawmakers approved last spring, including the decision to reduce teacher salaries by 1.9 percent, and administrator salaries by 3 percent.
"The state has somewhat arbitrarily cut this," said Duggan Harman, the district's executive director of finance, referring to the salary reductions. "Seattle doesn't have the choice except to shut down."
The district announced July 6 that it planned to implement furloughs for central office staff and management. At that time the district was still negotiating with the Seattle teachers union about teacher furloughs.
The August 31 shutdown means that the district's enrollment office will be closed and most of the staff will be gone for that day. Teacher training activities will also be affected.
The half-day closure is expected to take place in January or February. The Seattle teachers union hopes to hold a district-union activity in Olympia that day.