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Seattle Teachers Set To Vote on Pact

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Public-school teachers and school officials in Seattle announced a tentative agreement late last week that could end a strike that began on Sept. 3.

Details of the settlement, which was reached in the early hours of last Friday, were to be disclosed after a ratification vote by teachers Saturday. The new contract was reached following a 19-hour bargaining session personally supervised by Gov. Booth Gardner.

Classroom sizes, stipends for materials and supplies, and other factors related to the quality of education provided to the district's 43,000 students were central issues in the labor dispute. The walkout is the third to disrupt the beginning of classes for Seattle students since 1976.

Governor Gardner was reported to believe the negotiations initially were hampered by a "lack of trust" and poor communication between the teachers and district administrators.

If the agreement is ratified as expected, students in the city could return to classes as early as Oct. 1, according to the reports.

Earlier in the week, a parents' group threatened to file suit in a state Superior Court to force teachers back to work.--tm

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