UPDATE: The fourth paragraph of this story contains corrected pay information.
Teachers in Lakewood’s Clover Park School District will see their pay rise 10.2 percent over the next three school years, thanks to provisions in a new three-year contract approved Monday by the School Board.
The new contract begins with the current school year and expires Aug. 31, 2019. The contract increases are financed through local funds and are in addition to state pay increases.
The Legislature approved a 1.8 percent cost-of-living raise for teachers this year, but it’s unknown whether the state will add further teacher pay increases in the final two years of the Clover Park contract.
The contract pay bump is worth just over $2,000 for a beginning teacher this year, and more than $3,700 for teachers at the top of the pay scale, who have 16 or more years of experience and additional education. The contract streamlines the process for teachers to collect the supplemental contract pay, which is known as time, responsibility and incentive (TRI) pay.
The contract also increases stipends for school counselors and psychologists who work extended hours and days, and increases pay for substitute teachers from $125 a day to $140 a day ($150 for retired Clover Park teachers who substitute). It also increases stipends for added teacher duties such as leading the school band or choir, serving as adviser for student publications and other activities.
Local union president Jim Schell said that while teachers appreciate the financial rewards spelled out in the new contract, the non-monetary aspects are also important.
▪ Affirmation of teachers’ professional status. Example: The contract says that the school district can provide model assessments, beyond those required by state and federal rules. But school-based teams can decide what additional tests are used and when they are given.
▪ More specific language on class size, including reductions in overall class loads for elective and world language teachers and for PE teachers.
▪ Some relief for special education teachers. The district promises to consider the severity of students’ disabilities when assigning students to teachers. Special education teachers, who must complete individual education plans for their students, will earn $100 per plan when caseloads exceed contract limits.
▪ Clarification of a process for re-admitting students who are removed from the classroom for attacking or threatening staff. The re-admission procedure must include a support plan with teacher input.
Monday’s vote included four members of the school board: Vice-President Carole Jacobs and members Becki Kellcy, Joe Vlaming and Paul Wagemann. (Board President Marty Schafer was absent, attending a conference.)
Jacobs, Kellcy and Vlaming voted to approve the contract, but Wagemann abstained. He said he had not had a chance to read the agreement in advance of the meeting.
“It may be totally fine,” Wagemann said after the meeting. “I have confidence in the people on both the (union and administration) teams.”
But he said he didn’t want to vote on something he had not read.
Jacobs said that the board relies on the administration to present a contract that meets parameters set by the board early in the year, before contract negotiations begin. Superintendent Debbie LeBeau assured the board prior to the vote that the contract was within those parameters.
Also before the vote, Jacobs praised the contract for its themes of collaboration and cooperation between employees and administrators.
“It’s what’s right for kids,” she said.