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Hundreds Of Seattle Teachers Rally For A Raise As Contract Bargaining Continues

Ashley Gross
DaZanne Davis Porter is a kindergarten teacher in Seattle. She said she recently moved to Renton because she couldn't afford housing closer to her school.

Teachers’ unions across the state are pushing for salary increases after lawmakers approved another $1 billion for public education earlier this year. In Seattle, hundreds of educators rallied outside school district headquarters Wednesday.

Teachers held signs saying “Fair Contract Now.” One held a sign that said “I just want to live where I teach.” That was a message a lot of teachers brought up.

DaZanne Davis Porter is a kindergarten teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in South Seattle and a member of the Seattle Education Association bargaining team.

“Cost of living in Seattle is ridiculous,” Davis Porter said. “I was born and raised in Seattle and just recently I had to leave Seattle and move to Renton because I could not afford to stay in Seattle and survive.”

Davis Porter said the two sides haven’t talked specifics about compensation increases yet. She said teachers have watched other school districts such as Bellevue and Lake Washington agree to double-digit raises.

The Seattle school district has said it will face budget challenges in future years because of a cap on local tax levies set by the legislature.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.