Mukilteo teachers approve tentative contract agreement

By Kate Agbayani | Jul 03, 2019
Courtesy of: Dana Wiebe Mukilteo teachers applaud at their general membership meeting after it is announced that the Mukilteo Education Association approved a tentative contract agreement for teacher salaries.

What a difference a year makes. Last year, Mukilteo teachers were packing school board meetings and threatening a strike for new salaries that didn’t get approved until August.

Now, the Mukilteo Education Association (MEA) members approved a tentative agreement for a new three-year contract in their general membership meeting, June 24.

At the meeting, 98.2 percent of MEA members voted to accept the agreement, much higher percentage compared to the 84 percent approval for the 2018-2019 agreement last year.

MEA President Dana Wiebe was happy with the result.

“I feel optimistic about the collaborative relationship between the (MEA) and the (Mukilteo School District) moving forward and have confidence that we are moving in the right direction,” said Wiebe.

With the school year ending, Wiebe said MEA’s bargaining team worked to provide a strong agreement to the district to create a better contract for the teachers.

Typically, negotiations for a new agreement between the district and the association don’t come to a conclusion until August. However, Wiebe said because of the bargaining team’s strong agreement, negotiations were finished by the end of June.

Mukilteo School District spokesperson Diana Bradford was pleased with the short negotiations.

“We're very happy to get a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with our teachers' union,” said Bradford.

“Both parties were interested in getting an agreement done earlier than usual. This year we started negotiations in April and we're glad that we could come to an agreement before the end of June.”

Developing a strong agreement was important to MEA because of last year’s events surrounding salary negotiations with the school district.

Last year, Mukilteo teachers held protests for higher salaries after the district declined to reopen negotiations of the teachers’ Collective Bargaining Agreement. The teachers packed Mukilteo School Board meetings, and the threat of a teacher strike. It also resulted in a vote of no confidence in Mukilteo School District Superintendent Marci Larsen’s leadership.

Their frustrations started with the 2012 Washington State Supreme Court Decision, dubbed the McCleary ruling.

The decision allowed millions more in funds to school districts across the state to help fully fund basic education. A portion of the money was to be allocated for raises in teacher’s salaries.

The district declined to negotiate initially because the teachers were in the second year of a three-year contract that would end this August.

However, teachers got their raises after the MEA and the district reached an agreement that was approved by the MEA at their Aug. 29, 2018 general membership meeting last year.

The recently-approved three-year contract will boost the salaries of experienced teachers to become one of the highest in the state.

Teachers with a master’s degree who have 12 years or more experience have the potential to earn a max of $120,776.

Salaries for incoming teachers will also be higher.

The new salary for the first year of the contract will have teachers with a bachelor’s degree earning $60,000.

Other agreements in the contract will include reducing class sizes in special education and K-3, competitive pay with the surrounding districts, support for students with special needs in the general education classrooms, provisions for newly hired educators, and a mutual commitment to equity between the MEA and the district to ensure the success of every student.

Wiebe hopes that the new contract will also help teachers stay in the district.

“I am proud of this agreement, and I believe the district is as well,” she said. “The improvements in this contract will help us attract and keep the exceptional teachers that the students in our community deserve.”

The tentative agreement will go to the Mukilteo School Board for approval this month.

For now, the student calendars for the next three years have already been posted on the district’s website. The calendars reflect the results of the new agreement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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