It’s official: Teachers and school staff in Seattle voted to authorize a strike Tuesday evening. The strike could take effect if negotiations with Seattle Public Schools don’t result in a tentative contract by the first day of school, Sept. 5.

The vote followed perhaps the state’s first official strikes that disrupted the first day of school in two southwest Washington districts Tuesday; teachers in four additional Clark County districts will join the picket lines Wednesday. This year’s hectic negotiation season comes at the hands of a major shift in the state’s model of paying for public education.

In downtown Seattle, about 2,000 educators piled into Benaroya Hall for the vote, which took place during a general membership meeting of the Seattle Education Association (SEA), the union that represents roughly 6,000 Seattle school employees.

Negotiations over teacher pay, health benefits for some workers and efforts to increase racial equity in classrooms appeared to gain momentum earlier in August, but the union proposed the strike authorization vote after a deal was not reached by Aug. 25, SEA’s deadline for a tentative contract.

Read the full article on the Seattle Times website.