EVERETT — Teachers in Everett Public Schools have agreed to changes in their contract that extend its length and ensure the district continues paying the highest salary in the state to veteran classroom instructors.
Under the deal, approved on a boisterous voice vote Wednesday, the current collective bargaining agreement will be extended one year and expire in August 2021.
And the agreement calls for salaries to rise 2.5% Sept. 1, up from the 2.1% negotiated in the original contract a year ago. Teachers will get a 3% raise in the added year.
This means a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree will earn $56,064 and, at the other end of the scale, a teacher with 14 or more years of experience and a master’s degree will make $123,838. The amount, which includes a $4,101 stipend for having a master’s degree, is the most offered by any district in the state. The original contract set the top mark with stipend at $123,351.
The district’s Board of Directors is expected to approve the revised contract next month.
Negotiations got started in June and picked up steam quickly.
School district and union leaders said they took stock of what’s occurring in the district, such as Ian Saltzman settling in as superintendent and a critical school bond vote looming next spring. And, at the state level, they recognized there are school funding questions lawmakers may not answer until 2021.
They concluded that trying to hammer out a multi-year agreement next summer could be a challenge. Tacking on another year, and making some salary adjustments, made the most sense.
“We have shared values,” said Jared Kink, president of the roughly 1,450-member Everett Education Association.
Jeff Moore, the district’s chief financial officer, said there were “a number of mutual benefits to extend the contract one year.”
“The most significant for the district was to push the open contract out past the 2021 biennial legislative session, allowing time for the Legislature to address long-range funding shortfalls for many districts across the state,” he said.
Until Everett teachers acted Wednesday, Mukilteo teachers could lay claim to offering the highest salary in the state.
Their new three-year contract, which kicks in Sept. 1, sets starting pay for a first-year teacher at $60,000 and teachers with 12 or more years experience and a master’s degree will earn $123,776. Their top wage will now be $62 less than in Everett.
“I congratulate Everett on their ratification. I am always happy to see an agreement that values a professional salary for our teachers, as educators do the essential work of changing the lives of children,” said Dana Wiebe, president of the Mukilteo Education Association.
“This year, Mukilteo School District negotiated under this shared value, and my members expect future bargains to keep Mukilteo competitive with salaries that will attract and retain the high quality teachers that our students deserve,” she said. “We are proud of our contract and consider it the best in the state.”