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Richland officials, teachers agree to 1-year contract

Thu., Sept. 14, 2017, 8:53 a.m.

Richland teachers and administrators have settled on a one-year contract.

The school board voted unanimously to approve the contract Tuesday night, following 92 percent of the voting teachers signing off on the one-year contract.

The new contract wasn’t immediately available, and the details of it remain unknown.

Richland Education Association President LaDonna Sterling thanked the board for their continued support for the district and their appreciation of the teachers.

“It’s a one-year agreement, however,” she said. “I look forward to your continued interest and support as we work through the development of a whole new salary model.”

The state plans to change how it distributes money to districts for teacher pay starting with the 2018 school year. However, the state Supreme Court has to agree on the change, which is part of the resolution to the 2012 McCleary decision.

Sterling said the association looks forward to finishing other important discussions that were left unresolved after a 12-hour-long mediation session held on Sept. 5.

The district and the teacher’s union asked for a Public Employment Relations Commission mediator shortly before classes began this school year, after they couldn’t agree on a new contract.

The previous two-year contract expired at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

When the request went out, Sterling said in a statement that Richland district officials claimed budget problems were to blame for offering only 2 percent more pay while adding 2.2 days to the teacher’s contract.

District officials didn’t comment about the negotiations.