Everett school salary increases OK’d by board

The Everett School Board has approved salary increases for about 140 employees, including administrators, principals and non-unionized workers, but so far has been unable to reach an agreement with members of the Service Employees International Union.

SEIU members rejected a tentative contract agreement Sept. 13 and new talks have not yet been scheduled, said Mary Waggoner, a school district spokeswoman.

However, by state law the contract with these workers remains in effect for one year after a contract expires, she said. So SEIU staff are working under a contract that legally remains in effect until Aug. 31, 2013, or until a new agreement is reached.

SEIU represents 174 full and part-time workers in a variety of jobs, including food service workers, custodians and technology specialists.

No date has been set for new talks, but the school district looks forward to meeting with SEIU representatives, she said.

Some union members walked through the school board’s meeting Tuesday night holding signs saying. “We matter, too,” Waggoner said.

A local SEIU representative could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The school board formally approved a new, three-year contact with its 1,073 teachers earlier this month, which includes a 2 percent pay raise.

However, due to cutbacks in state funding, teachers absorbed a net 1.1 percent cut last year, she said.

The pay raises for the 140 employees approved Tuesday night include three groups of workers: administrators, such as school principals and associate superintendents; non-union employees such as security, technical and audio visual specialists; and professional-technical employees such as construction, budget and transportation workers.

They received 2.6 percent raises, but 1.1 percent “was to make up for what they didn’t get last year” due to state funding cuts, Waggoner said.

Collectively, the pay raises will cost the district $365,000.

The school board also approved giving all employees a $30-a-month increase for anyone who is paying $200 a month or more for their health benefits.

Superintendent Gary Cohn’s salary currently is $177,133, Waggoner said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com

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