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Seattle teachers prep for strike amid last-minute negotiations

SEATTLE - A potential teachers strike is now just two days away in the Seattle Public Schools - and some of those teachers will be gearing up to hit the picket lines on Monday afternoon.

Negotiations between the union and the school district are continuing on Labor Day. But just in case those negotiations don't bear fruit, about 100 people will meet at the Boeing Machinists Hall in South Park to learn how to run a picket line.

Teachers have authorized a strike if both sides can't reach a tentative contract deal by Wednesday.

The Seattle Education Association says its bargaining team scored a major victory during negotiations over the weekend - just days after teachers voted unanimously to authorize a potential strike.

The district agreed that every elementary student should get at least 30 minutes of recess per day, starting this school year. That's been a major sticking point for months.

The union also says progress was made on pay for substitutes - and on the perennial shortage of substitutes.

But both sides still have a long way to go on several other key issues, including testing and teacher evaluations.

Meanwhile, many parents are trying to figure out what to do if teachers strike.

If it happens, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the city's Parks and Recreation Department is prepared to expand after-school programs into all-day camps beginning on Wednesday to help accommodate parents in need of child care.

Those camps would take place at 16 community centers around the city. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

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