Post-McCleary teacher pay increasing in new contract negotiations

In the Herald (Everett), Jerry Cornfield has a good rundown on teacher pay agreements reached in this post-McCleary round of contract negotiations. As many suspected, the increased funding provided by lawmakers in the 2019 legislative session fueled substantial pay hikes. 

Teacher salaries are soaring as the Washington Education Association predicted they would.

Leaders of the statewide teacher union declared in March that a surge in state funding because of the McCleary lawsuit meant classroom instructors could win pay raises of double-digit percent at the bargaining table.

He points to the recent boost in Edmonds (also his story).

Teachers in Edmonds public schools are in line for pay hikes of as much as 20 percent under a tentative agreement reached Monday.

Starting pay for a first-year teacher would be nearly $63,000 a year, with salaries for veteran instructors topping $114,000 under the accord negotiated between the Edmonds School District and the Edmonds Education Association, which is the teachers union.

The proposed new pay scale ensures the district’s classroom teachers are amongst the highest paid in the state.

The roundup story continues,

Before them, teachers achieved agreements to push up salaries by an average of 13.5 percent in Omak, 17.2 percent in Othello, 17.3 percent in Bellevue and 12.2 percent in Lake Washington, to name a few.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been some legislative reaction. Cornfield writes,

Some [legislators] asked Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal to weigh in. Last week, he offered an explanation along with a broader look at the salary-setting landscape now that the legal fight on school funding is over.

But one of the first points he makes in his July 26 letter is the difficulty of providing school districts guidance when lawmakers themselves are not on the same page.

“What is clear to me is that you do not all agree on what you passed or what was meant by one aspect of a policy or another,” he wrote.

Given these early settlements, the next few weeks could be, well, interesting.

Contract deals reached so far are in districts where there are resources. Negotiations are continuing in roughly 200 other districts with agreements sought before Sept. 1 to avert any affect on the school year.

As they did in March, WEA leaders urged on their members.

“Don’t accept excuses from your school board or superintendent — or anyone else,” they posted online Tuesday. “Thanks to McCleary, the money is there.”

 The WEA website has an interactive map of negotiated pay increases.