Sunday, June 18, 2017

Teachers union concerned about McCleary | COMMENTARY | Renton Reporter

Teachers union concerned about McCleary | COMMENTARY | Renton Reporter:

Teachers union concerned about McCleary | COMMENTARY

Teachers are gravely concerned that what is getting hammered out behind closed doors in the legislature will seek to amply fund the public school system, as demanded by the state Supreme Court, and bring new rules on their ability to collectively bargain on wages and working conditions.
Since teachers from the state’s school districts are not in those talks, they’ve carried out an intensifying campaign of public actions the past two months to try to influence the conversations from the outside.
Everett teachers are among the best paid in the stat, which shines a brighter light on the concerns. A teacher in Everett School District with 15 years experience and a masters degree can earn, in round figures, an annual salary of around $100,000 under the current contract. The state covers around $70,000 and the school district takes care of the rest with money collected from local property tax levies.
For the Everett Education Association, it’s a product of collective bargaining and community support. Everett School Board members agree to those salaries and the electorate in Everett backs them up by approving levies necessary to handle the costs.
Meanwhile, in Olympia, a group of eight Democratic and Republican lawmakers are closing in on an agreement to comply with the court’s edict in the McCleary case. It will be a blueprint for how billions of additional dollars will be funneled into and spent by the education system with the biggest chunk going to cover the portion of teacher, staff and administrator salaries now paid by local taxpayers.
State law is likely to be tweaked to make clear how state and local dollars can be used going forward. That’s triggering talk, and tension, on potential revisions in the collective bargaining process.
Teachers see no need for change. But those traditionally on the other side of the table — superintendents and school board directors — are urging, to the point of begging, lawmakers to do something.
On March 23, superintendents of 32 school districts in Snohomish, Island, Skagit, Whatcom and San Juan counties asked lawmakers in a Teachers union concerned about McCleary | COMMENTARY | Renton Reporter:

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