As students squeeze the last bit of fun out of summer vacations, Mill Creek families are still in the dark about when their children will return to classes.
The Everett School District is the only local district that hasn’t set a start date for the 2006-07 school year. Many schools typically schedule the first day of class a day or two after Labor Day, which is Sept. 4 this year.
Everett is one of three Snohomish County school districts with ongoing teacher contract talks. Monroe and Sultan also are trying to hammer out pacts, though start dates have been put on calendars in those communities.
No one is talking about a strike in Everett. But teachers’ union president Kim Mead said her 1,100 members are not accepting what administrators are putting on the table.
“They haven’t met our needs,” she said.
Everett teachers and administrators hope for a Sept. 6 start date, but are not making promises until a pact is reached.
Parents are eager to have a school calendar in hand to make day care and other day-to-day plans, as well as pencil in spring break vacations.
Volunteer groups also are waiting for the calendar so they can plan their own activities.
“I’ve heard a lot of parents are concerned,” said Louise Uriu, president of the Everett PTSA Council. “It’s an issue, but personally I feel it’s going to be solved.”
People on both sides of the negotiating table are quiet about details. A union newsletter said there has been “productive discussion” on testing and work year issues.
Mead said teachers still have concerns about getting enough training time without cutting into classroom time.
School calendars, including starting days, often are included in contract talks.
Concerns about planning and class time issues have been growing across the region as the stakes have increased for standardized testing, said Diane Flynn, a representative with the Pilchuck UniServ Council, a regional arm of the Washington Education Association.
They are added to such perennial issues as class size and pay.
Melissa Slager is a reporter with The Herald in Everett.