Frequently asked questions about contract negotiations

Vancouver Education Association

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Washington state K-12 public school district medians
Total salary data for full-time teachers from OSPI personnel summary data (S275)
School years: 2011-12 and 2016-17

Median salaries Changes in medians Changes rank
District 2011–12 2016–17 Dollars Percent Dollar Percent
Battle Ground $59,691 $75,889 $16,199 27% 79 69
Camas $62,810 $80,307 $17,497 28% 58 65
Evergreen $62,691 $80,959 $18,268 29% 44 49
Hockinson $56,737 $76,014 $19,277 34% 31 34
La Center $62,926 $73,050 $10,124 16% 193 206
Ridgefield $57,144 $75,784 $17,640 30% 57 40
Vancouver $61,046 $80,324 $19,278 32% 30 35
Washougal $60,570 $74,504 $13,934 23% 120 122
State median $65,477 $81,424 $15,948 24%

Total gross funding to VPS from E2SSB 6362—$46 million per year—includes money designated to special purpose programs.

    • CTE – Career and Technical Education
    • Bilingual education
    • Materials, supplies, operating costs (MSOC)
    • Learning Assistance Program

The $46 million per year also includes pass-through funding, which the district is required to pass directly to employees or community colleges.

    • Medical insurance premiums
    • Employee retirement contributions
    • Running Start

After backing out the designated and pass-through funds for the items listed above, the net new discretionary McCleary funding allocated to VPS is $52.4 million over the next three years.

    • 2018-19 – $24.4 million
    • 2019-20 – $14 million
    • 2020-21 – $14 million

All available net new discretionary money from E2SSB 6362, and more, would be invested in VPS’ Aug. 26 teacher contract proposal to VEA, which would cost the district $57.7 million. The $5.3 million shortfall would require budget-cutting and spending from the district’s financial reserve, or ending fund balance.

No. The VPS and VEA bargaining teams mutually agreed to adjourn their negotiations in late afternoon to enable both teams to prepare for tomorrow’s session. They agreed that bargaining would resume at 8 a.m. Thurs., Aug. 30. A post on VEA’s Facebook page incorrectly stated that VPS wanted to end the day’s negotiations and that district leaders weren’t serious about bargaining a fair contract. VEA’s post was corrected later.

VPS has not filed for a court injunction to end the teachers’ strike. The VPS and VEA bargaining teams continue to negotiate in good faith. We are hopeful that a court injunction will not be necessary.

By law (RCW 42.30.050), the governing body of a public agency may adjourn any regular or special meeting and reconvene in a different location if the orderly conduct of the meeting is interrupted. Alternatively, the governing body may order the room to be cleared and continue the session. When members of the public disrupted the Aug. 28 special meeting, the VPS board of directors took a majority vote to adjourn and reconvene in an adjacent room consistent with the Open Public Meetings Act.

Under the provisions of ESSSB 6362, all Vancouver Public Schools employees, including the superintendent, are eligible to receive up to a 3.1 percent state cost-of-living adjustment for the 2018-19 school year. Many employees other than the superintendent are receiving additional improvements to their compensation per negotiated union contracts and district business practices.

In 2013, a basic, builder-quality shower enclosure and water and drain pipes were added to a bathroom adjacent to the superintendent’s office. The bathroom itself was there prior to 2008, when Dr. Webb was named superintendent. In response to community concerns and media coverage about the shower installation, a generous local patron reimbursed the district $4,000 to cover the full cost of the project. In addition, Dr. Webb donated another $4,000 to the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools, which distributed the money to programs that benefit students. So, the shower did not cost the district any money.

No. A bond measure approved by voters in Feb. 2017 is paying for the school construction projects and sports field installations underway in VPS. Bond funds cannot be used for teacher salaries or any other purpose except to build and/or improve school facilities and grounds.

VPS employees will be provided with health benefits through the month of September 2018 regardless of the strike.

If VEA members did not return to work by Sept. 10, 2018, compensation would be suspended. If they did not return to work by Sept. 17, 2018, health benefits premium payments for October would be suspended.

State law prohibits districts from making a gift of public funds. The district can be subject to audit findings if it provides compensation and/or benefits to anyone who isn’t working and isn’t taking approved leave. The district applies the same business rules to all staff members. Employees must work 50 percent of the available work days, including the use of approved leave, to receive their monthly premium payments.

If VEA members returned to work by the above dates, compensation and/or health benefits premiums would not be suspended.

No. Under the state’s new funding model, a greater percentage of teachers’ total compensation will be shifted from TRI (additional time, responsibility and incentive pay) into their base salary, but teachers will continue to receive TRI.

Yes. In 2018-19, the state will provide VPS with $69,129 to fund each teaching position. However, based on the district’s Aug. 24, 2018, proposal to the Vancouver Education Association, the district will supplement the average teacher salary from the local levy by $3,713. The average teacher salary will increase to $72,842. The state will pay 95 percent of teacher salaries, and the local levy will pay 5 percent.

The total cost increase of Vancouver Education Association’s proposal #6 over the 2017-18 contract is $21.7 million. If VPS were to accept this proposal, the district would need to identify and implement approximately $10 million in budget cuts for the 2018-19 school year.

Ten million dollars of budget cuts is equivalent to the following:

  • 92 teachers and certificated non-administrative staff (8 percent of teacher/teacher support workforce) or
  • 56 administrative staff (62 percent of administrative staff workforce) or
  • 130 classified staff (24 percent of classified staff workforce)

If the equivalent number of classroom teacher positions were cut, class sizes in grades 4-12 would increase on average by three students.

As a practical matter, VPS already has hired nearly all the employees it needs for the 2018-19 school year. Many of these employees are working under contract and could not be laid off.

In 2017-18, VPS spent $30.2 million on Vancouver Education Association salary and benefits from the local levy and state levy equalization revenue, which is 53 percent of the $56,947,500 in levy/levy equalization revenue provided to the district. VEA’s share of the local levy/levy equalization is more than half.

The state-mandated “levy swap” reduces VPS’ ability to collect local revenue, shifting the responsibility of teacher salary and benefits to the new state funding system. After the full implementation of the levy swap in 2019-20, VPS expects to receive $34.7 million in levy/levy equalization revenue, or a nearly 40 percent reduction.

Based on VPS’ Aug. 24, 2018, compensation proposal to VEA and 2017-18 staffing levels, VEA’s share of the available local levy/levy equalization as a percentage grows to 73 percent, nearly a 40 percent increase.

According to the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, the state is responsible for basic education costs, including teacher salaries and benefits, excluding supplemental duties.

Local levy and levy equalization revenue before and after full McCleary levy swap

2017-18: $56.9 million*

*$30.2 million—53 percent of total—spent on VEA salary/benefits

2019-20: $34.7 million**

**$25.3 million—73 percent of total—spent on VEA salary/benefits

How were Vancouver teacher salaries funded before and after the McCleary funding “fix” and the state-mandated “levy swap?”

In 2017-18, VPS received $55,000 per teacher for average base teacher salary. VPS supplemented that salary from the local levy by $11,825. The total average teacher salary in VPS before the levy swap was $66,825.  The state paid 82 percent of the total average salary, and local levy paid 18 percent.

In 2018-19, the state will provide VPS with $69,129 to fund each teaching position. However, based on the district’s Aug. 24, 2018, proposal to the Vancouver Education Association, the district will supplement the average teacher salary from the local levy by $3,713. The average teacher salary will increase to $72,842. The state will pay 95 percent of teacher salaries, and the local levy will pay 5 percent.

In 2019-20, the state will provide VPS with $70,442 to fund each teaching position. However, based on the district’s Aug. 24, 2018, proposal to VEA, the district will supplement the average teacher salary from the local levy by $6,355. The average teacher salary will increase to $76,797.  The state will pay 92 percent of teacher salaries, and the local levy will pay eight percent, a 70 percent growth in local teacher compensation of the total average teacher salary.

Average teacher salary funding before and after McCleary levy swap

2017-18: $66,825

2018-19: $72,842

2019-20: $76,797

No. The Legislature still isn’t meeting the Supreme Court’s McCleary mandate to provide full funding for K-12 schools. A local levy for educational maintenance and operations remains necessary to make up the gap in funding for essential services, including custodial and building maintenance staff ($6.5 million) special education ($3.7 million), paraprofessionals who assist teachers ($3 million), school safety and security personnel ($1.8 million) and substitute teaching costs ($1.5 million).

Additionally, VPS’ local levy pays for community priorities, such as teachers for non state-funded class-size reduction in grades 4-12 ($5 million), athletics and co-curricular programs ($3.5 million), counseling service staffing above state funding formulas ($1.6 million) and staffing for the district’s 18 Family-Community Resource Centers and two mobile FCRCs ($1.1 million).

If VEA leaders were to call for a work stoppage/strike, families would need to be prepared for the following:

  • Back-to-school nights and activities on the days preceding Aug. 29 would be held as scheduled.
  • The start of school would be postponed until the work stoppage/strike is over.
  • Sports practices would continue as scheduled due to separate agreements with coaches.
  • Southwest Washington Child Care Consortium centers located on school grounds would operate as normal. Please contact SWCCC for information.

Depending on the duration of a VEA work stoppage/strike, the last day of school also could be affected. We would share additional details, including graduation dates, with VPS families as soon as we had them.

Vancouver Education Association (VEA) proposals and Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) proposals

Date presented Starting total salary Total top salary Total cost increase over 2017-18
VEA proposal #1: 20% increase April 23, 2018 $53,360 $100,224 $27.9 million
VEA proposal #2 17% increase Aug. 13, 2018 $52,440 $98,496 $25.1 million
VEA proposal #3 16% increase Aug. 17, 2018 $51,980 $97,632 $23.75 million
VEA proposal #4 16.2% average increase Aug. 21, 2018 $51,750 $97,200 $23 million
VEA proposal #5 15.7% average increase Aug. 22, 2018 $51,520 $96,768 $22.3 million
VEA proposal #6 15.3% average increase
(See table 2 below for more.)
Aug. 26, 2018 $51,520 $96,768 $21.7 million
VPS proposal #1
(Includes 8 hours of optional professional development)
April 23, 2018 $47,497 $89,524 $9.3 million
VPS proposal #2
(Includes 8 hours of optional professional development)
June 19, 2018 $47,979 $90,432 $10 million
VPS proposal #3
(Includes 8 hours of optional professional development)
Aug. 13, 2018 $47,435 $91,999 $10.5 million
VPS proposal #4
(Includes 8 hours of optional professional development)
Aug. 17, 2018 $47,673 $92,459 $11.2 million
VPS proposal #5

(Rolls 8 hours of optional professional development into planned district professional development)

Aug. 21, 2018 2018-19: $47,663 $92,440 $11.9 million
2019-20: $50,249 $97,445 $20 million
VPS proposal #6
(Includes VEA request to shift 3 days of planned professional development into optional professional development reflected in district’s proposal #5)
Aug. 22, 2018 2018-19: $47,663 $92,440> $11.9 million
2019-20: $50,249 $97,445 $20 million
2020-21: $51,254 $99,406 $22.8 million
VPS proposal #7
VPS proposed rolling three days of optional professional development into enrichment duties (TRI)
Aug. 26, 2018 2018-19: $47,663 $92,440 $11.9 million
2019-20: $50,249 $97,445 $20 million
2020-21: $51,254 $99,406 $22.8 million
VPS proposal Sept. 1, 2018 2018-19: $50,413 $95,019 $16.6 million*
2019-20: $51,371 $96,825 $19.4 million**
2020-21: $52,399 $98,762 $22.5 million**

*2 days of district planned professional development and 2 days optional professional development
**3 days of district planned professional development and 2 days optional professional development

Table 2

The cost increases associated with VEA proposals are comparable to the following number of positions using average salary and benefits:

Teachers and other certificated non-admin staff Administrative Classified
Proposal #2 248.6 positions = $26.1 million 150 positions = $26.1 million 350.3 positions = $26.1 million
Proposal #3 235.7 positions = $24.75 million 142.2 positions = $24.75 million 332.2 positions = $24.75 million
Proposal #4 228.6 positions = $24 million 137.9 positions = $24 million 322.1 positions = $24 million
Proposal #5 221.9 positions = $23.3 million 133.9 positions = $23.3 million 312.8 positions = $23.3 million
Proposal #6 216.2 positions = $22.7 million 130.5 positions = $22.7 million 304.4 positions = $22.7 million
The difference between VEA proposal #6 and VPS proposal #7 is $9.7 million. Number of positions that would have to be cut this year: 92.4 positions 55.7 positions 130.2 positions
Percent of workforce: 8 percent* 62 percent 24 percent

* On average, grades 4-12 class size increase would be 3 students

Table 3

How does the existing contract compare with VPS’ proposals?

Starting total salary* Total top salary*
Existing contract between VEA and VPS: 2017-18 $44,373 (without optional professional development) $83,635 (without optional professional development)
Existing contract between VEA and VPS: 2017-18 $44,661 (with optional professional development) $83,923 (with optional professional development)
VPS’ Aug. 26 proposal for 2018-19 $47,663 $92,440
VPS’ Aug. 26 proposal for 2019-20 $50,249 $97,455
VPS’ Aug. 26 proposal for 2020-21 $51,254 $99,404
Total percentage increase from existing contract 14.8% (with optional professional development) 18.4% (with optional professional development)
Total percentage increase from existing contract 15.5% (without optional professional development) 18.9% (without optional professional development)

*VPS proposed rolling three days of optional professional development into enrichment duties (TRI).

2018-19 2019-20
Total increase in state funding $46,040,224 $51,556,024 (2)
Less: Pass-through/restricted-use revenues (1) ($9,690,715) ($15,206,515) (2)
Less: Levy and LEA loss, first year of levy swap ($11,959,338) ($11,959,338)
Less: Levy and LEA loss, second year of levy swap ($10,401,489)
Net: New discretionary funding $24,390,171 $13,988,682 (3)

(1) Examples of “pass through” revenues are funding increases for medical insurance (which we pass through to all employees), Running Start (which we pass through to Clark College), etc. Examples of “restricted-use revenue” increases are funds designated strictly for bus operations and supplemental services to bilingual, highly capable and Learning Assistance Program (LAP) students. Outside of a small percentage to fund year-over-year increases for 2017-18 staff, all of these funds require new costs dedicated strictly to supplemental services for these specific student groups.

(2) The only increase in funding currently called for in the legislative biennial budget, and therefore calculated by OSPI and displayed above, are for inflationary salary adjustments (previously referred to as “state COLA”) and medical insurance contributions. Both of these increases to state funding have been and continue to be considered a direct pass through to employees.

(3) Sustainable revenue for compensation adjustments.

Upcoming meetings scheduled for bargaining are listed below.

Vancouver Education Association (VEA)
Friday, August 17
Wednesday, August 22
Thursday, August 23
Friday, August 24
Monday, August 27

Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals (VAESP)
Tuesday, August 28
Thursday, August 30
Tuesday September 4
Thursday, September 6
Friday, September 7

Vancouver Association of Principals and Associates (VAPA)
Monday, August 20

Number of extra days required to earn total salary Starting total salary Top total salary
La Center tentative agreement for 2018-19 5 $44,406 $84,954**
Woodland tentative agreement for 2018-19 7 $46,599 $87,832
Kelso tentative agreement for 2018-19 5 $45,736 $88,370**
Ocean Beach tentative agreement for 2018-19 3 $46,947 $88,487
VPS Aug. 21 proposal for 2018-19 5 $47,663 $92,440***
VPS Aug. 21 proposal for 2019-20 6 $50,249 $97,455***
Evergreen Aug. 15 proposal for 2018-19* 7 $50,687 $96,045
Evergreen Aug. 15 proposal for 2019-20* 7 $51,701 $97,870
Camas 2017-18 contract* 3 $45,558 $85,869

*Districts still negotiating 2018-19 contracts

**Requires 25 years of service to achieve

***Requires 16 years of service to achieve

Last updated Aug. 21 at 4:21 p.m.

The table below summarizes recent wage and contract improvements for all VPS employee groups.

Group 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
VEA .55% decrease (state legislated) .55% decrease (state legislated) 9% TRI wage increase/1.9% schedule decrease (state legislated) 0% wage increase 1.65% TRI wage increase/1.94% schedule wage increase 1% wage increase 1% wage increase 5% TRI increase 2% TRI increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
VAPA 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 2.5% wage increase 2.2% wage increase 1.7% wage increase 3% wage increase 3.5% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
Mgmt. 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 6.45% wage increase 1% wage 1.7% wage increase 3% wage increase 3.5% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
VAESP 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 1.025% wage increase, added $.10 to legevity stipend amounts 1% wage increase 1% wage increase 4.5% wage increase 2% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
Pro-Tech 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 1.025% wage increase 1% wage increase 0 2% wage increase 2% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%
SEIU 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 0% wage increase 2.5% wage increase 1% wage increase 2.2% wage increase, & 1% increase for targeted positions chosen by SEIU 2% wage increase 2% wage increase
COLA 0 0 3% 1.8% 2.3%

This year, Washington state legislators developed a budget to meet the requirements of the Supreme Court (McCleary v. State) decision. As a result, the state increased its schools levy rate and will redistribute the money across all Washington districts.

Only in 2018, local school levy rates were not affected.

In 2019, the state will maintain its schools levy rate. Local school levy rates will be scaled back to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is known as the levy swap. The changes will not affect voter-approved school bonds.

Please visit our webpage on 2018 property taxes for more information on how school-related levies and bonds impact property taxes.

Key point: Tax increases this year were the result of Washington state legislators’ efforts to meet the requirement of the McCleary lawsuit.

As determined by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State
Auditor, ending fund balance is composed of three components:
1. Reserved Fund Balance – portion of fund balance legally restricted for specific uses
2. Designated Fund Balance – portion of fund balance designated for specific uses
3. Unreserved Fund Balance – portion of fund balance available to spend for discretionary needs

A prudent ending fund balance, or financial reserve, is essential to: maintain an excellent bond rating that
saves interest costs; provide resources for capital investments including equipment and technology;
sustain district self-insurance programs; guarantee payment of principal and interest on debt; cover
unanticipated revenue loss due to enrollment decline; open new schools, which incur additional costs of
staffing, utilities, insurance, instructional materials and equipment; maintain warehouse inventories; and
cope with unexpected expenditures.

Following the recommendations of the state auditor, VPS has increased its unreserved fund balance from
four to 11.4 percent over the past nine years. The statewide average is 12 percent. The district spent down
its unreserved fund balance by $2.8 million for 2017-18 to make up a budget shortfall due to the state’s
failure to provide full funding for K-12 education. Further reductions of approximately $2 million per
year are forecast for the next three fiscal years.

Key point: The district maintains savings, which is crucial for financial responsibility. It is used to cover unexpected expenses.

The legislature allocated $1 billion of additional money statewide to help districts transition to this new system, but it also reduced the amount of funds districts can collect through local levies next year and beyond. The legislature did not significantly change what programs and services constitute basic education. Rather, it shifted more responsibility to the state for funding existing programs and services, including salaries. Simultaneously, over the next two years, the state has legislated a reduction in the amount of local revenue VPS can collect. The media has referred to it as a “levy swap.”

The table below illustrates the new state discretionary revenue and the full effect of the “levy swap” by 2019-20.

Fiscal year New discretionary state revenue Loss of levy and levy equalization Net additional discretionary revenue Cost of state-specified 3.1% salary improvements for all staff Net additional discretionary funding after 3.1% improvement for all staff
2018-19 $36.4 million <$12 million> $24.4 million <$6 million> $18.4 million*
2019-20 and beyond $36.4 million** <$22.4 million> $14 million <$6 million> $8 million

*$10.4 million of total is one-time funding due to the phased implementation of the levy swap.
**Any published increases in state revenue beyond 2019-20 are solely inflationary adjustments that must be passed through to maintain existing services. Therefore, they are not included in this discretionary revenue.

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the legislature’s funding solution developed in response to the McCleary v. State lawsuit capped staff salary increases at the rate of inflation (Seattle Consumer Price Index). EHB 2242 allows a 3.1 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for district employees 2018-19.

Key point: The state capped staff salary increases at the rate of inflation. For 2018-19, VPS employees received a 3.1 percent cost-of-living adjustment.

As a general rule (RCW 41.80.060), public employees have no legal right to strike or engage in a work stoppage. A “strike” is a partial or complete cessation of work. The term, therefore, includes slowdowns, brief boycotts, and “quickie” strikes as well as a prolonged work stoppage. The rule prohibiting strikes by public employees in other states has been held, without exception, applicable to strikes by public school teachers.

According to a 2006 opinion by then-Attorney General Rob McKenna, state and local public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike in Washington. No such right existed at common law, and none has been granted by statute.

The true K-3 average class size in VPS is 19:1. Adding the flexible teaching support positions established in most schools lowers the average to 18:1, and adding non-traditional homeroom positions (e.g., P.E., art, dance) further reduces the average to slightly below the state-funded 17:1 ratio.

The average class size for grades 4-5 is 24.

Average class size for grades 6-8 is 26.

Average class size for grades 9-12 is 26.

 

The district’s budget development process begins each December with the release of the Governor’s budget proposal, which provides a starting point for budget deliberations at the state level. The releases of the Senate and House budgets follow, and then the legislature works toward producing a consensus budget. The superintendent and chief fiscal officer assess the potential impacts of each version of the state’s budget and present that information to the board of directors.

Concurrently, the superintendent’s cabinet members collaborate with department managers to complete a zero-based budgeting exercise that identifies resources necessary for the next school year. They also submit needs-based budget requests for additional items that cannot be funded within their existing budget allocation. At this stage, input on budget needs and priorities is invited and received from school principals.

In the spring, after the legislature releases its consensus budget, the superintendent and chief fiscal officer present a set of preliminary budget recommendations to the board. The superintendent and chief fiscal officer then incorporate any changes from the board and prepare a final set of budget recommendations for board action. Throughout the entire process, budget updates are provided in the Inside VPS e-newsletter and on the district website. The board conducts a public hearing on the budget in August and then adopts the final budget.

Key point: District administrators work collaboratively with department and school leaders to create budget recommendations that are based on need and aligned with state and federal requirements.

Since 2014-15, VPS has added more than 175 teaching and counseling positions, mostly in grades K-3. The increased number of teachers has resulted in a serious shortage of classroom spaces district-wide, a challenge being addressed through a six-year facilities construction program.

Many districts will lose under the new funding model if they:

  • Employ more experienced, longer-serving teachers who make more money than the average allocation from the state;
  • Lose Local Effort Assistance, or levy equalization, which is additional money from the state for districts with lower assessed property values;
  • Currently have local levies higher than $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value;
  • Do not receive regionalization money because they aren’t considered a high cost of living area;
  • Do not have a high-poverty student population and therefore receive fewer Learning Assistance Program (LAP) funds.

Additionally, the state continues to underfund special education.

Key point: The state’s funding plan benefits some districts but it creates a shortage of funding for many school districts.

VPS expects to receive a short-term increase in funding from the state for the 2018-19 school year. In response, the district plans to apply nearly $3.8 million to higher staffing costs for classrooms and schools; materials, supplies and operational costs; and unfunded employee benefit costs. VPS also plans to use $2.8 million to discontinue the reliance on reserve funds, which were used to stabilize staffing and programs for students in the district’s 2017-18 budget.

After these deductions, the district expects to have an estimated $14.6 million in discretionary resources for 2018-19. Part of the boost comes from increased state levy collections that legislators implemented in 2018 to help meet the state’s constitutional obligation to provide full funding for K-12 education.

Ten million dollars of the $14.6 million operating surplus is not sustained beyond the 2018-19 school year. In other words, $10 million of the increase is one-time revenue.

Key point: After investments for additional staff at our elementary schools and other costs related to operations, and the elimination of a one-time increase of $10 million, the surplus is under $5 million.

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