Child care becomes a scramble as teacher strike enters 2nd week

SEATTLE -- Seattle's community centers are doubling as free day-care facilities as a strike by the city's teachers enters its second week and has parents scrambling for child-care options.

Seattle Public Schools said there would be no school again Tuesday.

Seattle Parks and Recreation spokesman David Takami said Monday that 21 community centers are taking care of some 2,000 children in kindergarten through sixth grade, and that number is rising. Many of the centers are at capacity. It's costing the city about $21,000 a day.

Jason Busbee, a front-desk coordinator at the Queen Anne Community Center, says it was "an early morning mad dash" as parents dropped off their kids, and several families had to be turned away.

He says volunteers are overseeing activities for the 150 children there, including basketball, foosball and lawn darts. The center had also ordered some big bouncy houses to entertain the kids.

Though negotiations between teachers and the district are continuing, no agreement was in place yet.

“I’m not sure how they expect us to come to an agreement on lengthening the school day when they drop the bomb on Aug. 17th and want us to come to a conclusion by Aug. 24th,” SEA Vice President Phyllis Campano explained Sunday.

Over the September 12th weekend, the district whipped up a new proposal adding money to the 20 extra minutes added to the school day.

“This means that we’ve built in compensation for the added student instructional minutes that we are building into the teacher day. No time will be added to the teacher work day,” SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard explained at a press conference Sunday (September 13th, 2015).

In response, the teachers presented a counter offer: the two-year deal includes a raise of 4.75% the first year and 5% the second.

Sides are inching closer together, but are still yards apart.

“We have not agreed completely on the equity or the assessment on the testing, still there’s the issue of testing its still there so there’s some things that need to come together before we see that were closer,” Campano said. “We know that were worth the money and we work really hard and we’re hoping that the district sees their way to agreement on money.”

For earlier coverage on the teacher's strike, click here>>>