*** Update, September 2, 2013, 5;45PM: In an interview with KOMO News, SVSD Public Information Coordinator, Carolyn Malcolm, said there is a new contract offer for teachers that will be presented tomorrow evening. KOMO News reports that “the district’s bargaining team presented teachers with a new proposal on Friday that offers a combined four-percent raise over the the next three years. It also limits class size and gives additional pay to teachers with more students.” Teachers will see the offer on Tuesday. For a negotiation update from SVSD visit their website. ***
When the Snoqualmie Valley Teachers Association (SVEA) almost unanimously rejected the Snoqualmie Valley School District’s contract offer last Tuesday, August 27th, they also set a deadline for a decision about “work action” (i.e. strike or not) for Tuesday, September 3rd – if they had no recommended tentative agreement from its bargaining team at that time.
That time is now just one day away – and the start of the school year less than 48 hours away.
Snoqualmie Valley School District and SVEA bargaining teams negotiated with mediators this past Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, SVEA President, Lisa Radmer stated, “After 20 hours more of negotiation, now with PERC [Public Employees Relations Commission] mediators, we are no closer to resolution than we were last Tuesday.” The district said in an update that it offered to meet over the holiday weekend.
A sticking point in the negotiations appears to be elementary school class size. According to the SVEA website, union members want “clearly defined and enforceable elementary class size language and compensation.” Currently, only middle and high school class size overloads are covered by contract language. SVSD says its newest offer to be presented Tuesday sets “targets” for elementary class size, not limits.
The district’s last rejected conceptual contract agreeement presented to teachers included a 1% annual raise, totaling 3% for the 3-year contract – and a $1.7 million compensation increase for teachers over their last expired 2-year contract. **
According to the SVSD website, “While an agreement has not yet been achieved, we appreciate the commitment and experience of those serving on both bargaining teams and believe the group will be able to achieve a settlement soon.”
As of Monday, September 2, 2013 at 12:30PM, neither side has publicized a new contract offer or future scheduled negotiations. There is a SVEA Union General Membership meeting scheduled for 4:30PM, Tuesday, September 3rd to decide the union’s next steps, which will help determine if Snoqualmie Valley schools start on time. If needed, the next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 4th, according to an SVSD update.
On Friday, August 30th, three local districts (including SVSD) were still without teachers’ contracts as the start of school quickly approached. The Seattle School District and its teachers union, along with mediators, worked over the weekend and reached a tentative agreement on Sunday, September 1st. The South Kitsap School District also reached a tentative agreement with teachers Friday night, August 30th.
The SVEA union says it wants the SVSD school board to deal with the contract issues “so that school can start without significant disruptions.”
The Snoqualmie Valley School District said it will continue giving contract updates on its website and through E-News as it becomes available.
The current SVEA Union contract expired on Saturday, August 31, 2013. Teachers will, though, be in classrooms on Tuesday, September 3rd, before their evening union meeting, preparing for the start of the school year.
** Original story said latest district offer increased the original compensation offered by $1.7 million over the initial offer. The $1.7 million is the amount this contract increases compensation over expiring contract.