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Contract Negotiations Underway In Many Washington State School Districts

Krissy Venosdale

The Edmonds School District and the teachers union say they have reached a tentative agreement, but bargaining is still underway in many other parts of the state, including Kent, Mercer Island and Puyallup.

Mercer Island teachers are planning to rally on Thursday before the school board meets.

Rich Wood, a spokesman for the Washington Education Association, the statewide teachers’ union, said about 170 contracts are being negotiated right now and most expire at the end of this month.

Wood said the legislature’s education funding agreement that passed in June will shift how the state allocates money for teacher salaries down the road.

“We do know that some of the major changes begin next year – not this upcoming school year but the following year – so that does affect the length of the contracts being negotiated, probably shorter than they would be otherwise,” Wood said.

The state’s new system will allocate teacher pay based on an average salary and provide more in places with higher housing costs. The old system was based on a teacher’s education and experience. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.