Teacher contract negotiations move forward … sort of

Negotiations between the Washougal School District and its teachers are moving forward.

But by how much? It depends on whom you ask.

An updated statement on the Washougal School District, as of Aug. 27, notes, “Over the course of bargaining … the parties have reached a significant number of tentative agreements. The remaining topics … are primarily financial in nature.”

However, the Washougal Association of Educators has a different take.

“The Association does not concur with the district’s summary,” said Frank Zahn, WAE president. “While there are tentative agreements in place on certain issues, the word ‘tentative’ means exactly that; possible, but not permanent.”

The Association’s main concerns continue to be class sizes, elementary grade-level blends and teacher compensation.

Notes the WAE, “(WSD Superintendent Mike Stromme) has stated that we cannot compare our district with others (that are) two, four or nine times our size. Are teachers teaching less here? Are they worth less here?”

“Respect is not only in words, it is also in actions. Respect is not a pat on the back and a candy bar … during Teacher Recognition week,” Zahn said. “The actions of the Washougal School District speak volumes in their respect for their teachers.”

With a contract set to expire this month and the school year just days away, the district and WAE are scheduled to meet with a state mediator today and tomorrow.