Tumwater teachers ratify new contract with 16.7 percent raise; lawmakers look ahead to appropriate response to strikes & settlements

Tumwater teachers have ended their strike, the last in the state. The deal extends the double-digit salary increases reached in many districts. 

Tumwater Education Association and Tumwater School District reached the tentative agreement during mediated bargaining on Sunday.

The deal gives teachers at 16.7 percent raise this school year and a 2.4 percent raise next year, according to a school district news release.

Can the district afford it? Well,

The school district estimates it will run a $4.4 million deficit this year and $7.5 million next school year as a result of the agreement.

Sooner than many expected, the education finance debates are expected to return to Olympia, KOMO News reports.

“So we now have state-funded basic education and local decision making,” said state Rep. Laurie Dolan, D-Olympia. “And so what we’re going to have to do going forward is keep tweaking that so we won’t see what we saw this year.”

What you saw were teachers, like in Tacoma, who went on strike when the district offered only a 3 percent raise while other surrounding districts were offering double-digit raises. The strike ended when a 14.4 percent raise was offered.

Tweaking may not be enough.