Richland School District teachers met Monday night to vote on a new two-year contract with their district, while two other Mid-Columbia districts are still in the midst of teacher contract negotiations.
Officials and teachers in the North Franklin School District are far apart in initial proposals but the two sides aren’t expected to meet at the table again for two weeks and classes started as scheduled. Meanwhile, teacher contract negotiations continued in the Prosser School District as teachers and district administrators seek to avoid a strike next week.
The Richland teacher contract calls for a 9 percent salary increase over the length of the contract. Union leaders said that was just one of many gains made. Negotiations had been ongoing since late June. Notice of whether the contract was ratified by teachers was not immediately available.
Prosser administrators made a new contract offer to teachers Monday, though details weren’t immediately available. The district’s previous offer, made Aug. 28, involved $311,012 in increases in teacher pay and benefits. That was far off the union’s proposal for more than $1.5 million in increases, primarily upping the number of extra pay days for teachers and insurance benefits.
Nearly all of Prosser’s teachers voted at a recent union meeting to strike on Sept. 8 if no contract is in place by the second week of school. Union representatives said one of their primary issues is the district’s giving principals power to run teacher evaluations they way they want rather than follow the state’s standardized process.
Contract demands from North Franklin teachers are starting off higher than seen in prior contract negotiations, said North Franklin Superintendent Gregg Taylor. However, he said talks are progressing and teachers are in the classroom.