By Copy Editor Elena Perry
Throughout summer and into the start of the school year, several teachers, staff members, and their families have been standing outside the district office waving signs with the slogans, “It’s time for professional pay and benefits” and “Fair contract now!” staff such as spanish teacher Maria Reyburn rally in support of the negotiations that occurred inside the district office.
Elected Members from the teacher’s union, the North Thurston Education Association (NTEA), formed a bargaining team to negotiate a salary increase involving money the Washington state legislature gave to the district. The money was divided and directed to all Washington school districts in a state supreme court case known as the McCleary case.
“The districts were saying that they were allowed to keep some of the money, that’s why the teachers were out protesting in front of the district office,” said Reyburn. Many teachers, including Reyburn, argue that all of the McCleary money should be used by the district to supplement teacher pay. “that money was intended for salary increases for teachers,” said Reyburn, “[many] have not had significant salary increases and cost of living adjustments for a long time.”
As of Sept. 7, the North Thurston Public School (NTPS) district and NTEA have reached a tentative agreement regarding the contract for this school year. “This agreement will fund significant increases to teacher salaries and keep North Thurston Public Schools salaries competitive,” said the NTPS homepage, “The ratification process will commence in accordance with [NTEA] bylaws.”