Nearly one month into the 2017-18 school year, Washougal teachers are finally working under a newly ratified contract.
The Washougal Association of Educators and the Washougal School District said last week that they had reached agreement on a one-year teachers’ contract. The Washougal School District Board of Directors approved the contract Tuesday night.
Washougal teachers had been working for weeks without a contract after going into mediation with the district in August and voting down an earlier contract the first week of September.
Teachers and district leaders had been in negotiations since the beginning of the summer and clashed over compensation, blended classrooms at the elementary level and class sizes.
Highlights of the approved agreement include increases in time, responsibility and incentive (TRI) pay, professional development stipends and compensation for 193 work-related hours over teachers’ regular school-day pay.
The agreement also provides support for teachers who find themselves working in blended-grade classrooms.
According to the district, the new contract will allow an educator study team to meet during the 2017-18 school year “to plan for changes to take place in the 2018-19 school year” including planned reductions in early release times on Wednesday afternoons at the elementary level.
The early-release reductions will add two hours of instructional time to elementary students’ weeks, for a total of nearly three weeks’ worth of additional classroom time in 2018-19.
The agreement still maintains 270 minutes of weekly paid prep time for elementary teachers, as well as 40 minutes of professional learning time for elementary teacher teams, despite the increase in instructional hours.