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News / Clark County News

Ridgefield teachers ratify new contract

Three-year deal features improvements to special ed caseloads, class sizes

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: September 20, 2022, 6:41pm

Ridgefield teachers ratified a new three-year contract in a union membership meeting Tuesday afternoon.

A tentative deal between the union and the Ridgefield School District was reached Sunday afternoon after months of stalled negotiations snowballed into a six-day teacher strike that closed schools between Sept. 9 and Sept. 16. Schools reopened on Monday following news of the deal.

Ridgefield Education Association members voted 99 percent in favor of the new contract, according to a union press release Tuesday evening. The deal is said to include educator salary increases and improvements to teaching caseloads and class sizes for special education — a top priority for the union throughout negotiations. Throughout the course of the contract, those caseloads and class sizes will slowly decrease.

It will also ensure that teachers are guaranteed any future state-provided cost-of-living adjustment allocations — effectively salary hikes intended specifically for educators — without the need to reopen the contract in the future. In 2022, the state extended a 5.5 percent salary boost. The district will also provide annual training in de-escalation tactics to help ensure safer learning environments for both teachers and staff.

“Thank you to our incredible Ridgefield families and our community who stuck with us and supported us through this bargain,” Ridgefield Education Association Co-Presidents Kara Breuer and Elizabeth Stamp said in the Tuesday press release. “We should be proud of what we achieved together, and we look forward to continuing conversations with our community.”

The Ridgefield School District did not comment on the vote Tuesday evening.