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News / Clark County News

Washougal teachers, district ‘make progress’ in contract talks

Negotiations focus on salary as educators work without a contract

By Kelly Moyer, Camas-Washougal Post-Record
Published: September 23, 2022, 5:33pm

Contract negotiations between the Washougal Association of Educators teachers union and the Washougal School District continued this week with meetings Monday and Thursday.

The school district stated in its bargaining update that the “two groups continue to make progress toward an agreement.”

Washougal teachers have been working since Aug. 30, under the terms of their former contract, which expired at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

Washougal Association of Educators President James Bennett recently told The Post-Record that union leaders’ focus is “on reaching a deal that includes fair pay for educators to ensure everyone with the critical job of teaching and caring for Washougal students earns enough to support themselves and their own families.”

The teachers union has asked the district to provide a 5.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment that is in line with other districts in Clark County. The district initially offered a 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment but has since included a 5.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for the 2022-23 school year, with another increase of at least 2.25 percent in 2023-24.

The district said this week it also is now offering an additional professional development day and a personal wellness day.

“Under this offer, teachers at the top-end of the pay scale will make $111,575 in total compensation and would still be among the highest paid teachers in the region,” the district stated on its bargaining update website Tuesday.

The offer now on the table would make Washougal’s top-step teachers the third-highest compensated teachers in Southwest Washington, after Camas School District, where teachers with the most education and longevity earn $114,456, and Evergreen Public Schools, where top-step teachers earn $112,301 in total compensation.

Under the Washougal School District’s most recent offer, Washougal teachers on the first step of the salary schedule — those with no experience and just a bachelor’s degree — as well as those in the middle of the salary scale who have five years of experience and more than a bachelor’s degree, also would have the third-highest compensation rates in the region ($59,196 and $65,842, respectively) during the 2022-23 school year, after Evergreen ($61,056 and $68,541) and Camas ($60,451 and $67,027), according to a comparison chart provided by the district.

The two sides still have a few sticking points, according to the district’s most recent bargaining update, including, “compensation increases, language around student discipline, language around professional learning community time, language around overload and the opportunity to offer advisory classes, and investments in paid professional development.”