With no deal, schools not open Tuesday in Stanwood-Camano

Talks continue in Monroe, while an agreement was reached late Monday in Arlington.

STANWOOD — Schools in the Stanwood-Camano School District were closed Tuesday, which was supposed to be the first day of classes, as the administration and the teachers union failed to reach an agreement on a new contract, the district said in a statement late Monday night.

Monroe School District officials and the teachers union there are still in talks, but their strike deadline was less imminent. Schools are to open there on Wednesday.

Meanwhile in Arlington, where classes begin Wednesday, a tentative agreement was reached late Monday between the school district and the Arlington Education Association, whose members were to ratify the contract Tuesday.

Several other school districts serving Snohomish County were in talks with teachers as recently as last week, but all reached agreements before the weekend. Schools open Wednesday for most students.

The two sides in the Stanwood-Camano district spent the weekend negotiating with the help of a state mediator, but Monday night they were still at the bargaining table. The union voted on Aug. 23 to authorize a strike if no agreement was reached before Tuesday.

With a strike on, teachers planned to picket at schools Tuesday morning and to march later in the day from Heritage Park to the district office, wrote Jeanne Kelly of the Stanwood Camano Education Association in an email.

In a memo late Monday, the Stanwood-Camano School Board said: “The situation is complicated, more this year perhaps than any other year. Working through the complex changes in the state’s school funding model and newly legislated legal requirements will take additional time. We have experienced bargaining teams who are dedicated to working together to find resolution.”

The district said teachers have been offered a minimum increase of 11.8 percent, regardless of experience or education, with a top salary of $107,536.

Negotiations continued over the Labor Day weekend in Arlington and Monroe, as well. Teachers unions there also authorized strikes if agreements weren’t reached before the start of classes on Wednesday.

In Arlington, the two sides reached agreement Monday evening, the district and union said in a joint news release. Details of that agreement were not immediately disclosed.

In Monroe, bargaining teams met Sunday and Monday, according to Tamara Krache, a spokeswoman for the Monroe School District. A mediator was brought in, and talks were to resume Tuesday.

Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; egiordano@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.

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