Teachers will see significant pay increases

Oak Harbor, Coupeville districts reach agreements

  • Tuesday, August 28, 2018 12:48pm
  • News

In the wake of uncertainty over what to do with new money from the state, Coupeville and Oak Harbor school districts have both reached agreements that will result in double digit percentage increases in teacher salaries.

The Coupeville school board voted Monday night to increase teacher salaries by an average of 22 percent, with starting pay set a $53,444.

The contract also reduced the years of experience needed to reach the top of the pay scale, which is $105,522, to 14 years.

“Members are extremely happy with this agreement,” said Katja Willeford, teacher and co-president of Coupeville Education Association.

Willeford said that negotiations hadn’t been as collaborative at the beginning, but she said once the new superintendent stepped in, the gears started turning.

Teachers came to a school board meeting at the end of July to advocate for more support and ask if they were considered “worth a bump above” baseline.

Superintendent Steve King said he is proud of the “competitive compensation” the district can provide.

“I look forward to the continued positive work with our employees and I am thankful for our community’s continued support of our schools,” King said.

Oak Harbor School District also came to an agreement Monday night. Teachers there will see a 19.8 percent increase during the 2018-19 school year and a total 23.6 percent over three years.

Bargaining sessions in the city also had a rocky start, with some union members considering striking on the first day of school.

Oak Harbor Education Association President Kathy Ridle said the reaction to the agreement reached was “very positive.”

“They were all enthusiastic about all or most of the contract,” she said.

Lead union bargainer Jeff Laiblin said there were also several changes approved to improve staff working conditions. For instance, the case load for special education teachers is now capped and physical education class sizes were reduced because of safety concerns.

“We had a lot to tackle,” Laiblin said.

Superintendent Lance Gibbon said he’s pleased the increased state funding allowed for “long-overdue salary improvements.”

With the new funding, Gibbon said, the school levy rates in Oak Harbor will drop by about $1 per $1,000 of assessed value because of a levy cap that starts in 2019.

Gibbon said the district’s total budget will stay the same with tax revenue from other districts making up the difference.

“That means we’ll be able to continue to provide fair compensation for our employees while maintaining our state and national award-winning schools and programs,” he said.

More in News

Mussel farm, other agencies train in oil spill cleanup

It only took the group of eight people on the boat around… Continue reading

Keystone ferry down to single boat; Salish repairs continue

The Coupeville-to-Port Townsend ferry run returned to service Monday morning. The Kennewick… Continue reading

Feds award grant to IT

Money will fund 10 new propane buses

Group’s protest focuses on U.S. Supreme Court nominee, victim support

A small group of Whidbey Island residents joined a national walkout Monday… Continue reading

Victor Rojas. Photo by Laura Guido.
A place for the kids

Oak Harbor native aims to open a safe hangout for city’s youth

Candidates tackle the issues at League forum

Candidates forum draws nearly 200 residents

Coroner identifies man shot, killed by police

A deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed a… Continue reading

Carjacking suspect shot, killed by deputy in Oak Harbor

At approximately 6:36 p.m., Oak Harbor Police Department received 911 calls regarding… Continue reading

Town points out error in reporting to auditor

The Washington State Auditor’s Office issued an audit finding against the Town… Continue reading

Most Read