Whidbey News-Times


Board damaged teacher relations with contract | Letter

July 1, 2013 · Updated 3:19 PM


The Oak Harbor school board’s decision to give incoming and novice superintendent Lance Gibbon an almost 9 percent or $12,000 raise and awarding him a three-year contract is outrageous in several regards.

OHSD is infamous for being a low-wage district, paying its certificated and classified employees significantly below school districts our size.

Teachers have not received a raise or even a cost-of-living adjustment in over six years, despite the voters passing the COLA initiative for teachers in 2000, which has been repeatedly suspended by the Legislature.

In the recently-ratified agreement between the Oak Harbor School District and the Oak Harbor Education Association, teachers received no raise—instead earning compensation for additional time worked.

The school board insisted that teachers receive no raise, and the only way an agreement was possible without a strike was for OHEA to abandon its goal of moving teacher compensation closer to the average of what other districts our size pay their teachers.

Oak Harbor teachers have always — always — muted their goals for better compensation in deference to the many other needs our school district has, from instructional assistants to buses to curricular materials to technology.

And we worked exceedingly hard in collaboration with many others to pass the levy this year.

Once Dr. Schulte announced his departure, we recommended that the school board not raise the incoming new superintendent’s salary and not award a three-year contract.

They did both, severely damaging good will patiently developed over many years.


Peter Szalai


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