Kennewick School Dist. Reaches Agreement After Budget Delay - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Kennewick School Dist. Reaches Contract Agreement After Budget Delay

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- The Kennewick School District announced Thursday that they've reached an agreement with their teachers association on a contract for the upcoming school year.

Kennewick teachers and administrators are happy Friday about their agreement on issues including teacher evaluations, class sizes and work loads.

But they say the legislature put them in a difficult position to get it done in time for the school year and they're still not happy with some of the results.

"We get these mixed messages. We're told constantly how important education is, how important teachers are. We agree. We believe teachers are not paid enough," said Lorraine Cooper, Kennewick School District spokesperson.

When politicians in Olympia waited until June to get a budget deal done, it left the Kennewick School District with a small window of time to reach an agreement on key issues with their teachers association.

Teachers are frustrated about their salaries and the lack of a cost of living increase.

They voiced their concerns at a rally Thursday night.

The McClary decision to fully fund education did relieve a recent 1.9% pay cut, but the school district says it isn't enough.

"We did get a restoration to a portion of the salary so we don't have to do furloughs. But still no cost of living increases. I don't think there's been one since 2008," Cooper said.

The school district's slogan is "Education is the Bridge to the Future".

But teachers and administrators are worried about that future if politicians don't get them the necessary funding to support classroom needs and teacher's livelihoods.

Some politicians agree that when the budget was put off until the end of the session, the people who need the funding fell behind too.

"I'm very excited that they had that rally. They need to continue to express to the legislature their frustration so that the legislature in the next session put the budget discussions first," said Rep. Brad Klippert, 8th District.

The Kennewick School District did get increased funding for materials and supplies this year, but they still plan to push for more teacher support from the state.