Craving stability during uncertain fiscal times, Spokane Public Schools gave unanimous approval Wednesday night to a new three-year contract with its teachers and classified staff.
The action came one night after the teachers’ union, the Spokane Education Association, approved the deal, albeit with only a 53.5% “yes” vote.
The school board had no doubts, voting 4-0 to approve a new deal that director Deana Brower said “allows us to move forward within out three-year emergency budget with the best information available.”
Noting that 85% of the district’s $461.9 million budget goes to personnel, Brower added that “having a three-year contract allows for this district to have some certainties in our personnel budgeting … and come out of our budget emergency with the strongest legs possible.”
Board member Mike Wiser said the new contract will allow the district and teachers to move ahead with issues such as class size and student discipline.
Those issues were the main sticking points for the teachers, SEA President Jeremy Shay said after Tuesday’s ratification vote.
“It was clear to me tonight that people have major concerns about student discipline,” Shay said.
Salary was a minor issue. Teachers will receive a 1% increase for the current school year, 1.8% the following year and 2% in 2021-22.
The contract also clarified prep time for elementary teachers following the elimination of the old specialist model and a 75-minute early dismissal on Fridays.
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