District, union set third mediation date

Teachers’ contract expired Aug. 31

A third mediation session between the Washougal School District and the teachers’ union has been set for Monday.

The district and Washougal Association of Educators met twice last week to attempt to resolve their differences, after both sides were unable to agree on a contract.

A three-year agreement between the union and the district expired Aug. 31. The expiration, however, has had no impact on teachers’ rights, benefits and working conditions, according to Mike Stromme, district superintendent.

“We remain confident that a fair and equitable contract can be agreed upon,” he said. “We are committed to a resulting contract which will sustain the programs and services our community expects for students while recognizing teacher contributions.”

Frank Zahn, WAE president, said the teachers have chosen to continue working based on the needs of district patrons. He added that WAE is hoping for a contract that establishes a “fair basis for evaluations, significant commitments on curriculum by the district and compensation that is comparable to neighboring districts.”

“The WAE requested mediation after negotiations with the district came to a standstill over evaluation, curriculum and compensation issues that were not being addressed by the district,” Zahn said. “We have continued to encourage the district to come to agreement on all issues of concern.”