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Seattle teachers OK strike as contract talks go to the wire

SEATTLE (AP) — Teachers in Seattle have overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike as contract talks continue on the eve of the new school year.

Seattle Education Association President Jennifer Matter announced Tuesday that 95% of ballots returned by the union’s membership favored going on strike absent an agreement with Seattle Public Schools.

Issues include pay, staffing ratios for special education and multilingual students, and student mental health support.

Classes are due to start Wednesday for the city's 49,000 public school students, but the district has warned parents a delay is likely.

School in the Seattle suburb of Kent was supposed to start Aug. 25 but has been delayed as teachers there strike over similar issues.

Districts across the country have been dealing with fallout from the pandemic, including strains on the mental health of teachers and students, as unions have sought to regain ground in a tight labor market.

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