Lake Stevens teachers agree to contract changes

LAKE STEVENS — Teachers in the Lake Stevens School District have agreed to contracts that make up for state cuts.

Changes in the contracts set to expire in 2012 address salary cuts of 3 percent for administrative staff and 1.9 percent for teachers made earlier this year by the Legislature. The cuts resulted in a loss of $387,000 for the district.

The Lake Stevens Education Association on Thursday agreed to a contract that restores 1 percent of the state’s reduction in pay, district spokeswoman Arlene Hulten said. The agreement also adds one personal day and sets 2 1/2-hour early releases for the Fridays before winter and spring breaks.

Last school year, the district started one-hour-early releases on Fridays for every grade and will continue to schedule the same for the 2011-12 school year, Hulten said.

“Both Lake Stevens Education Association and the district felt it was very worthwhile for providing time for teachers and administrators to collaborate with each other,” she said.

Superintendent Amy Beth Cook said the district’s goal was to work with teachers to preserve instructional time. With the agreement, the net loss of instructional time for students in kindergarten through the seventh grade is one and a half hours and three hours for eighth through 12th grades.

Cuts made by the Legislature to K-4 class size reduction funds totaled $739,000 for the district. Class sizes in kindergarten through fourth grade will increase this school year by an average of two to three students. The district also lost 10 elementary teacher positions for the new school year through attrition and not extending one-year contracts.

The groups met once in June and twice in August to come to an agreement, Hulten said. The district’s 7,800 students are scheduled to begin school Wednesday.

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