Everett School Board approves teacher contract that boosts pay

EVERETT — The Everett School District Board of Directors approved a new three-year contract with its teachers Tuesday ensuring classes could begin Wednesday as planned.

The contract, which teachers ratified a week ago, will provide salary increases that assure the district’s 1,075 certificated instructors remain among the best paid in the state based on their experience.

It also sets the school calendar. And there’s a big change this year: students will be released 75 minutes early most Fridays to provide teachers time for professional development activities. Time will be added to other school days.

“The community has a long supportive commitment with our teachers,” said Pam LaSesne, school board president. “This contract will say to our teachers we appreciate you and we value what we do.”

A teacher’s salary is paid from two different pots of money. Roughly two-thirds of the total comes from the state.

The rest comes from the district, which under state law is permitted to provide additional compensation through local collective bargaining agreements such as the one approved Tuesday. Most of the money needed to cover the increases will come from local property tax levies.

Under that contract, the district will boost its share of teacher pay by 2.25 percent the first year, 2.5 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the final year.

In addition, the state is providing a 3 percent cost-of-living increase on its portion this year and another 1.8 percent in 2016.

When combined, Everett school teachers should see their overall earnings rise by 3.82 percent this school year, according to Jeffrey Moore, the district’s executive director of finance and business services.

With the raises, first-year teachers will earn a starting salary of $46,938 and those with nearly 30 years experience and a Master’s degree will earn $94,815, according to figures provided by Moore.

In addition to salaries, the 139-page contract pays for professional mentors for first-year teachers as well as those in their second and third year if deemed appropriate. There will be additional staff support for special education instructors and a minimum of three counselors at each middle school.

There are provisions aimed at improving the teacher evaluation process and instituting a “shared leadership” structure at each school that assures “equitable participation of employees in decisions affecting their classroom or assignment.” Teachers taking part in their school’s leadership team will be eligible for cash stipends.

And there’s new language regarding student discipline. Under the contract, a student who has threatened, attacked, physically abused or injured an employee will not be allowed back to the class or activity period without the consent of that employee or until the principal and the employee have conferred, whichever occurs first.

Also Tuesday, the district approved pay increases for two groups of employees not represented by unions. Each will receive pay hikes of the same percentage increase negotiated with teachers.

One contingent is professional and technical employees such as construction manager, budget analyst, early learning coach and executive staff assistant. The other is a small group of classified workers such as van drivers, audio visual technicians and school caretakers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of classified employees in the district will be earning more this year as well. Though their contract is not up for renewal, they, like teachers, are receiving a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment on the portion of their salaries funded by the state.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com.

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To read the contract go to www.everettsd.org.

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