Everett teachers retain highest-paid status under new 2-year agreement
Last updated 9/6/2018 at Noon
One happy teacher at Jackson High School has already hired a real estate agent and started her search for the home she thought she would never be able to afford.
Jared Kink, president of the Everett Education Association, told The Beacon that the new contract approved by teachers has given the Jackson educator the confidence she could finally afford to move out of her apartment and buy a home in Mill Creek.
“We wanted to change your lives,” Kink told his members. He said teachers should be able to live in the district where they teach and still take their families on a vacation.
Teachers in the Everett Public Schools avoided the possibility of a strike by voting to approve the contract negotiated with the district that will boost teacher salaries an average of more than 15 percent.
The settlement was announced 10 days before the start of classes in the vast district.
The school year began on schedule on Wednesday, Sept. 5, for students in first grade through high school. Kindergarten is slated to begin on Monday, Sept. 10.
Only six of the nearly 1,000 teachers voted against the tentative agreement at a meeting last week held in the Everett Civic Auditorium. Teachers greeted the results with a standing ovation.
The school board is expected to ratify the contract during a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11.
A number of teachers said that the agreement, if approved, would allow them to send their own children to college.
The negotiations were “cooperative and productive,” according to Diane Bradford, a spokesperson for the district. She said teams worked until 2 a.m. last Saturday, then returned to the bargaining table on Sunday morning to finalize the numbers after they had had an opportunity to clear their minds and make room on their schedules.
Teachers in seven districts across the state went on strike for higher wages on Wednesday, Aug. 29, delaying the start of school for 75,000 students in the southwest corner of Washington. Negotiations were finalized in Seattle last weekend, but contracts have not been finalized in Tukwila and Tacoma where teachers have voted to strike without a new contract.
The first day of school was delayed in the Stanwood-Camano Island District when teachers walked out on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Under the deal approved by teachers in Everett, the most experienced educators will receive a boost in salary of more than 20 percent, bringing their salary to $120,776. Salaries for first-year teachers will jump 8 percent under the agreement to $54,677.
The agreement will allow the top teacher salary in Everett Public Schools to reach $123,315 in the 2019 school year, surpassing the contract approved by teachers in the Shoreline District. Bradford added the new salaries also exceed the terms negotiated by teachers in both Edmonds and Lake Stevens.
Kink acknowledged beginning teachers in Everett will earn less under the agreement than Edmonds and Lake Stevens, but those with a master’s degree and at least 14 years of experience will make more than peers in the state’s other 294 districts.
Kink explained the final agreement was delayed due to stipulations in the court-ordered McCleary decision that provided billions of dollars from the state to fully fund K-12 education. The influx of funds, he said, was offset by reductions in voter-approved levy funds under the stipulation of the ballot measure.