Edmonds district and teachers agree on a short-term pact

The agreement will extend the current contract for a year and boost the pay of classroom instructors.

LYNNWOOD — Teachers in Edmonds public schools are in line for a pay hike this fall under an agreement set for approval by the Lynnwood-based district’s Board of Directors on Tuesday.

The one-year deal calls for a wage hike of 2% for certificated teachers, plus a $1,250 increase for each step in their salary schedule.

With the changes, a first-year instructor with a bachelor’s degree will earn a starting salary of $68,965, which would be the highest in the state. The current starting pay is $66,184.

At the top end, a certificated teacher with 14 years of experience, a master’s degree and 90 units of additional education will make $124,658, up from $120,646. This will be one of the highest levels of compensation among public schools in Washington. The new schedule will take effect Sept. 1.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be conducted virtually via Zoom. Information on how to participate can be found on the Edmonds School District website, at www.edmonds.wednet.edu. It also will be streamed live on the district’s You Tube page, www.youtube.com/user/EdmondsSD.

Salary increases are one provision in a nine-page memorandum of understanding between the school district and the Edmonds Education Association that will extend the existing collective bargaining agreement for one year.

This was supposed to be the year that the association and district hammered out a new three-year contract. With many uncertainties surrounding a fall reopening amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, teachers opted to seek a shorter-term arrangement.

A year ago, with schools closed and coronavirus infections surging, the union took the same tact. Its last three-year deal expired in August 2020.

“Many folks have a sense that they need to get back in the buildings under “regular” conditions to see what the main issues are right now,” said Andi Nofziger-Meadows, the association president. “They may be the same, but they may also have changed given the disruption of the system for 15 months because of COVID. A one-year extension gives us more flexibility and time to assess where we are.”

In addition, bargaining for a full contract involves an immense amount of time and preparation from union leaders and classroom teachers, time which no one had this spring, Nofziger-Meadows said.

“Members are generally pleased with our current contract and want to do the full bargain once we have the information that will allow us to do it well,” she said.

Edmonds is one of 12 area districts in which teacher contract negotiations are occurring. In each case, the current contract expires Aug. 31, the end of the fiscal year for public schools.

Current contracts for teachers in the Mukilteo and Northshore school districts run through August 2022.

Jerry Cornfield: jcornfield@heraldnet.com; @dospueblos

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