ARLINGTON – Arlington Public Schools and the teachers union signed on to a tentative contract agreement and new salary schedule on Monday night that enabled school to start on time Wednesday.
The parties agreed on a two-year contract that calls for salary increases of 11 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the second year.
Terms in the agreement also include a salary schedule that will pay $57,000 for a first-year teacher, topping out at $111,500 for teachers with a master’s degree and 30 or more years of service.
Arlington Education Association members Tuesday voted 98 percent in favor to ratify the contract, AEA president Jason Klein said.
District spokesman Gary Sabol said both sides are happy that they came to an agreement that spilled over into the Labor Day weekend.
“Now we can focus on the first day of school, and we can get back to student learning,” Sabol said. Contracts “are one of those things you have to do.”
Klein said teachers are excited that a settlement was reached with the district after more than six months of talks.
“We would like to thank the Arlington community for their patience in this process,” Klein said. “We are looking forward to welcoming the students Wednesday morning for the start of the school year.”
The district is still in talks with the Arlington Public School Employees union that represents classified staff including secretaries, bus drivers, cooks, para-educators, janitors, maintenance workers and other employees.
Their next negotiations are scheduled for Sept. 14.
Arlington, like other districts, is positioned to receive a net increase of millions of dollars in coming years because of the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, which ordered the state to increase K-12 funding. At least $2 billion of the new state funding is for educator salaries.
In Arlington, budget projections show an increase of $13.2 million in new revenue after accounting for the loss of levy monies.
Educators in some 30 school districts across Washington already have negotiated double-digit percentage pay raises this summer. Teacher unions have argued that without higher pay, communities will lose good teachers to other districts that have negotiated substantial pay raises for their teachers.
Neighboring districts Everett, Granite Falls and Lake Stevens already have reached agreements with their teachers to attract and retain quality teachers.
The Arlington School District has some 5,457 students, and the Arlington Education Association represents more than 340 certificated teachers.