By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
EVERETT — With the first day of classes starting next week, the Everett School District has reached a tentative contract agreement with the Everett Education Association.
The deal calls for school to start in Everett and Mill Creek next Wednesday.
Everett’s agreement, reached at 2 a.m. Tuesday, means all school districts in Snohomish County have contracts in place, or agreements awaiting approval by the teachers’ unions.
Most schools are scheduled to start this year on Tuesday or next Wednesday.
The school calendar is just one part of the contract teachers and districts negotiate. The tentative contract in Everett includes other details that are pending a presentation and ratification Thursday by the union membership.
In Everett, the last contract negotiation was ratified in June 2011, much earlier than this year, said district spokeswoman Mary Waggoner.
Before that, the district and teachers agreed on a three-year contract. The point is, Waggoner said, people in Everett and Mill Creek usually don’t have to wait this late to know what day school is going to start.
“Many people in our district haven’t experienced this before,” Waggoner said. “And if you are unfamiliar with labor negotiations, it can seem strange. The school calendar is just a part of a package that must be agreed on at the same time. The district is honoring the process at the negotiating table.”
The school start date is important to students, families, staff and communities, Waggoner said. The district used its website, automated message systems, electronic and traditional media to announce the first day of school when the decision was made, she said.
One brand new school in Everett, View Ridge Elementary, will be ready to open Wednesday.
Still, Christine Seresun, the parent of a second grader and seventh grader in the Everett district, isn’t happy.
“Why wait till August to finally start negotiating?” Seresun said. “It is very frustrating as a parent. We are required to have our kids at school, and if they miss time for an appointment or a vacation, the parents get in trouble. But if I don’t have a calendar or a start date to make doctor appointments and vacation plans around, then I just have to make them and risk the consequence.”
Another mother, Suzanne DeSelms, has a first grader who keeps asking how many days until “big kid school” starts.
“We would like to book a trip to Disneyland for spring break now to get the price deal, but when is spring break?” DeSelms said. “My mom was a teacher and I respect teachers and their desire not to be walked on. But it would be nice to know the schedule for the year right now.”
First day of school
In Arlington, the first day of school is Wednesday, Sept. 5, except for grades 10-12 at Arlington High School. The older high school students start the next day, Sept. 6. More info: www.asd.wednet.edu
Darrington: first day is Tuesday, Sept. 4; www.dsd.k12.wa.us.
Coupeville: Tuesday; www.coupeville.k12.wa.us.
Edmonds: Wednesday; www.edmonds.wednet.edu.
Everett: Wednesday, www.everett.k12.wa.us.
Granite Falls: Wednesday; www.gfalls.wednet.edu.
Index: Wednesday; https://sites.google.com/a/index.k12.wa.us/index63/
Lake Stevens: Wednesday; www.lkstevens.wednet.edu.
Lakewood: Tuesday; www.lwsd.wednet.edu.
Marysville: Wednesday; www.msvl.k12.wa.us.
Monroe: Wednesday; www.monroe.wednet.edu.
Mukilteo: Wednesday; www.mukilteo.wednet.edu.
Northshore: Tuesday; www.nsd.org.
Oak Harbor: Thursday, www.ohsd.net.
Snohomish: Tuesday; www.sno.wednet.edu.
South Whidbey: Tuesday, www.sw.wednet.edu
Stanwood-Camano: tentatively Tuesday; www.stanwood.wednet.edu.
Sultan: Wednesday; www.sultan.k12.wa.us.
Reporter Amy Daybert contributed to this story.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction, Aug. 29, 2012: The headline on an earlier version of this story contained an incorrect starting date for Everett’s schools.