The Seattle School District is still trying to figure out how to provide Gov. Inslee’s child care program for families of first responders, as a fight has raged between teachers and district officials.
The district and its teachers have been trying to find a compromise that would allow some Seattle schools to provide child care for first responders, with the teachers serving as the workers.
That hit a snag this week when the district, working at the City of Seattle’s behalf, told the teachers that they were going to be providing child care whether they liked it or not. The Seattle School District said the city threatened to withhold Pre-K levy funding unless teachers were required to do it.
“The district sent a message to Seattle educators mandating that they would need to provide child care,” the Seattle Education Association’s (SEA) Linda Mullen said on behalf of the Seattle teachers’ union.
Seattle teachers told the district they weren’t going to do it. The district folded a day later, saying they would not force the teachers to provide child care. Teachers said they would be happy to provide the service if it was a voluntary program, and if there were proper health safeguards in place.
“SEA is very much interested in providing support, but they would like it to be voluntary,” Mullen said. “They want to make sure that certain conditions are met, ensuring health and safety, not just for the educators but for the kids in the programs.”
SEA would like the City of Seattle to use private providers for this work.
The city does have an emergency childcare program up and running, just not using teachers for the service. If you are a first responder, check out this link to find some options.