Vancouver district, teachers reach deal

Both sides must ratify two-year agreement later this month

By Howard Buck, Columbian staff writer

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The Vancouver Education Association and Vancouver Public Schools have reached a two-year collective bargaining agreement, pending ratification later this month by teachers union members and the school board.

District and union officials on Thursday jointly announced the new deal, hammered out after several months of sporadic talks.

Key points outlined in a news release:

• To mitigate a 1.9 percent teacher salary cut in basic education payments from Olympia, Vancouver educators will receive a temporary TRI (time-responsibility incentive) pay hike, equivalent to 1.5 days of salary, and a temporary increase of two additional leave days.

• A joint committee will be formed to tackle redesign of select special education programs, subject to school board approval.

• The teachers union and district will continue to design and pilot new teacher evaluation tools and steps, at select schools, during the 2011-12 school year.

• There will be eight two-hour late starts for the coming school year, to allow for teachers’ professional training. That will change to 16 one-hour early releases in 2012-13. The delay in the change should avoid disrupting child care arrangements already set for the coming year.

More details will be disclosed when the package is ratified, the two parties said.

The proposed salary adjustments were assumed in the district’s $210.6 million operating budget for 2011-12, adopted by the school board on Tuesday.

That’s a 1.1 percent decrease from the $213 million budgeted for 2010-11.

Bargaining continues with remaining employee groups — nonteaching custodial, clerical and support workers, school principals and other administrators — said Missy Hallead, district personnel director.