Teachers in the Mukilteo School District jammed a school board meeting Monday night, urging elected officials to renegotiate salaries. Less than two hours earlier, the teachers’ union passed a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Marci Larsen and gave a bargaining team authority to call for a strike if there is not a tentative agreement to consider by Aug. 15 . (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Teachers in the Mukilteo School District jammed a school board meeting Monday night, urging elected officials to renegotiate salaries. Less than two hours earlier, the teachers’ union passed a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Marci Larsen and gave a bargaining team authority to call for a strike if there is not a tentative agreement to consider by Aug. 15 . (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Mukilteo teachers authorize strike and pack another meeting

They brought their contract beef to school district headquarters for a third time.

MUKILTEO — Amid testy salary talks, Mukilteo teachers Monday took a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Marci Larsen and gave a bargaining committee authority to call a strike if there is no tentative agreement to consider by Aug. 15.

Teachers from across the district met at Kamiak High School after classes were dismissed Monday afternoon for a general membership meeting of their union. Roughly 250 teachers were reported to have taken part.

The district’s teachers will take a second vote of no confidence — this one electronically — so those who did not attend the meeting will have a chance to have their say, according to union leaders.

After the votes, teachers brought their contract beef to school district headquarters. For the third time in a month, they jammed into a meeting room to urge the board to renegotiate the salary portion of their contract.

“We met with them on Friday and we offered a proposal which we thought was pretty generous,” district spokesman Andy Muntz said after Monday’s meeting. He didn’t specify the details.

The flashpoint is the union’s demand to bargain over how the district spends an infusion of state dollars as a result of the McCleary school funding lawsuit. The union wants to renegotiate its contract, which runs through August 2019, to secure the money for salaries. The district has rejected their request.

“The ball is in the district’s court,” Mukilteo Education Association President Dana Wiebe said after the school board meeting. “We just want to bargain. We want professional competitive wages for our teachers. We want to hire the best, we want to keep the best. That’s always been our goal, to get to the table and have some good faith negotiations with the district.”

Larsen is one of Snohomish County’s longest-standing school district superintendents. She has led the district since 2003. The district, which includes schools in Everett, Mukilteo and unincorporated areas, has an enrollment of more than 15,000 students. There were more than 880 teachers in the district during the 2016-2017 school year, according to state records.

Talks have been up and down in recent weeks.

Wiebe said a meeting Friday with the school district’s bargaining team went well, and it seemed that things were on course.

Wiebe said she was perplexed by an email sent later that day by Assistant Superintendent Bruce Hobert. “It basically says that after talking to the board they want to talk to lawyers,” she said of the email.

Salary remains a sticking point for the teachers, along with other issues such as Family Medical Leave Act issues and shared leave.

“We don’t want to reopen the whole contract,” Wiebe said. “We are only looking at the pieces.”

During Monday’s meeting, the school board listened to five teachers, two union presidents, including one from the Lake Washington School District, and a couple of parents, but made no comments.

In the McCleary court case, parents and teachers successfully sued to force the state to amply fund basic education, including wages of school employees. Since the 2012 decision, lawmakers have boosted school funding by roughly $9 billion, including $1 billion this year and $1 billion last year for educator salaries.

Earnings of most Snohomish County teachers are already above the new state benchmarks because their districts use local levy collections to pay higher salaries. Lawmakers capped what districts can raise through their own levies and limited how those dollars are spent.

Some funds will be used to increase state funding to ensure a statewide average salary for teachers to $71,711, for classified staff to $51,437 and for administrators to $106,473. There is also money for a cost-of-living increase for all teachers.

In Mukilteo, a new teacher with a bachelor of arts degree will make $51,856 while an instructor with at least 25 years of experience and a doctorate will earn at least $99,949. Roughly a third of a veteran teacher’s salary now comes from local dollars.

Jerry Cornfield contributed to this story.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Julie Timm
Sound Transit’s $375K payout to ex-CEO didn’t buy help

Board members said Julie Timm would give professional advice to them or a future CEO after leaving, but she hasn’t been called upon.

FILE -- An engine on a Boeing 767 jet aircraft, at a Boeing facility in Everett, Wash., March 7, 2012. The Boeing 737 engine that failed on Southwest Flight 1380 is not the only one that has caught the eye of regulators: Engines on Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and 767 have also failed, prompting questions about their design and inspection procedures. (Stuart Isett/The New York Times)
Boeing 767, built in Everett, gets 5-year lifeline from Congress

Boeing would have been forced to end production of the 767 Freighter in 2027 due to new emissions rules if not for the extension.

Snohomish County Jail. (Herald file)
Inmate, 51, dies at Snohomish County Jail

Around 3 p.m., corrections staff called 911 about an inmate, who became unresponsive as firefighters arrived. He died at the scene.

With the Olympic mountains in the background, Boeing's 777x lifts off from Paine Field on its first flight, to Boeing Field in Seattle, on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
1 dead, dozens injured after turbulence on Boeing plane

A Singapore Airlines flight from London was diverted to Bangkok, where more than 70 people were being treated for injuries.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Idaho man identified in fatal trooper shooting on I-5 near Everett

The deceased man was Marvin Arellano, 31, of Nampa, Idaho, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

State Sen. Mark Mullet, left, and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, are both running as Democrats for governor in 2024. (Photos provided)
Did Bob Ferguson go too far responding to fellow Fergusons?

Ferguson wanted the secretary of state to redo the ballot. Mark Mullet, a Democratic rival, says such a move would’ve broken the law.

Photo by Gina Shields of GM Photography
Whidbey Island to salute the fallen for Memorial Day

All are invited to honor those who have fallen at three events on Whidbey Island.

Boeing firefighters and supporters hold an informational picket at Airport Road and Kasch Park Road on Monday, April 29, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Boeing union firefighters to vote on new contract proposal

The company made the offer after “a productive session” of bargaining and reported the amended contract includes an “improved wage growth schedule.”

Catholic Community Services NW Director of Housing Services and Everett Family Center Director Rita Jo Case, right, speaks to a man who asked to remain anonymous, left, during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Homelessness down nearly 10% in Snohomish County, annual count shows

The county identified 1,161 people without permanent housing, down from 1,285 last year. But lack of resources is still a problem, advocates said.

Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Craig Matheson on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Everett, Washington. Matheson retires this month after 35 years in the prosecutor's office. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
For decades, he prosecuted Snohomish County’s most high-stakes cases

“When you think of a confident prosecutor, you see a picture of Craig (Matheson) in the dictionary.” Or in the thesaurus, flip to “prepared.”

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.