Bellevue teachers, district close on 2 of 3 strike issues

Bellevue school teachers say they and the school district are close to settling two of the three issues that have led to a strike.

Speaking at a Saturday afternoon press conference, Bellevue Education Association president Michelle Miller said the sides are “getting much closer to settling this. But,” she added, “we are not there yet.”

Teachers went on strike Sept. 1 after negotiations failed to reach a new contract by the start of school Sept. 2. Picketing has continued in front of the district's schools all week.

“Teacher pay is the last major hurdle,” Miller said, noting that the teachers “have softened their demand from 11 percent to 9 percent to 5 percent.”

“This strike can end just as soon as the district is willing to compromise,” Miller said. “There is no reason the Bellevue School Board couldn't decide to settle this strike tonight.”

In addition to pay, issues include health insurance and the district's Curriculum Web. The latter is a web-based system that outlines what teachers should be teaching in classrooms throughout the school year.

“We are just a few words away from resolving the issue that one size fits all ... and almost ready to ink an agreement on health insurance,” Miller said.

Talks between the district and the teachers continued Saturday and are slated throughout the weekend.

“Let me be clear,” Miller said. “Teachers want a speedy end to this strike.”