Dear VPS Families:
As we prepare to continue contract negotiations with the Vancouver Association of Educational Support Professionals with the assistance of a state mediator, I want to provide you with a brief update on the status of bargaining.
VPS’ current offer on the table includes a 6.6 percent improvement in compensation for all VAESP members. This wage proposal compares favorably with compensation provided for similar classified employee positions in Evergreen Public Schools.
VAESP leaders state that VPS’ proposal is unacceptable based on a comparison of the percentage increases given by some other districts. As we have communicated at the bargaining table, however, it matters where you start.
Washougal School District, for example, recently reached agreement on a 9.6 percent increase with its secretarial-clerical union. Even with that increase, Washougal’s compensation remains below Vancouver’s 2017-18 wage levels in most comparable positions. Vancouver’s starting and top 2017-18 wages for secretaries are $20.59 and $25.32, respectively. After the 9.6 percent improvement, Washougal’s 2018-19 secretaries range from $19.55 to $22.45. Similarly, paraprofessionals in Vancouver earned $16.53 to $20.71 per hour in 2017-18. After the 9.6 percent improvement, Washougal’s 2018-19 hourly rates range from $16.53 to $19.99.
Vancouver’s competitive advantage in compensation for secretaries and paraprofessionals over Washougal would be even greater with addition of the 6.6 percent raise proposed by VPS for 2018-19. Our offered clerk rates ($18.96 to $24.69) also would be comparable to Washougal’s new rates.
As we shared with you in a previous letter, VAESP’s proportionate share of the net new state McCleary funding for classified employee compensation averages approximately $1.3 million annually over the next four years. The VPS proposal currently on the table, a 6.6 percent increase for all VAESP employees in 2018-19 and a 1.9 percent increase in 2019-20, would cost approximately $1.5 million per year. VAESP’s October 25 proposal would increase the average salary by 22 percent at a total cost of $5.25 million per year.
VPS’ October proposal would add $200,000 to the district’s projected budget shortfall for 2019-20 bringing the total shortfall to $9.3 million. This includes the $9.1 million projected budget shortfall needed to pay for the new contract with the Vancouver Education Association.
Contract negotiations will resume December 3. We will keep you informed of further developments as we work together with VAESP and the state mediator to reach an agreement.
The goal of the VPS board of directors and district leadership team is to provide fair and competitive wages in a fiscally responsible manner. We are committed to ensuring that the commitments we make today are sustainable next year and beyond so that we have the resources necessary to prepare all students for their future.
Steven T. Webb, Ed.D.