Teachers at Evergreen Public Schools clap in support of their bargaining team. Evergreen High School, Sept. 11. (Evergreen Education Association)
Around 23,000 public school students in the Vancouver area are heading back to classrooms on Monday after their teachers voted to ratify a new labor contract.
Teachers at Evergreen Public Schools went on strike Aug. 30, the first day of scheduled classes for the school year, and were on strike for seven school days. Classes Monday were set to begin two hours later than usual.
The district reached a tentative agreement with the teachers’ union, Evergreen Education Association, Sunday night and educators voted to ratify the new agreement Monday morning, according to the union. The union represents about 1,500 teachers.
Educators were on strike over getting more special education support and planning time, as well as a disagreement over the inflation metric used to adjust their wages.
According to the union, the agreement includes a flat percentage wage increase of 6.6% in the first year and 5.8% in the second year. In the third year, wages will be based on the Seattle-area consumer price index, with minimum and maximum thresholds. The district originally wanted to switch to a different inflation metric.
The district also agreed to hire more special education support teachers. In addition, the deal includes more collaboration time for K-8 teachers working with students who aren’t meeting learning goals, the union said.
Teachers also went on strike at the neighboring Camas School District, where the walkout ended last week.
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