Bargaining teams for Vancouver Public Schools and Vancouver Education Association met on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Today, VPS and VEA jointly submitted a request for state mediation support in reaching an agreement on the remaining items to be bargained, including salary, professional development, planning time and class size.
The bargaining teams are scheduled to negotiate over the weekend on Aug. 25 and 26. Both VEA and VPS continue to bargain in good faith despite the hard realities of the state Legislature’s funding “fix” for public schools. The complex and inequitable funding system adopted by the legislature in response to the McCleary lawsuit is making the process of bargaining teacher contracts exceptionally difficult for districts throughout the state.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal explained the inequitable impact in an Aug. 22 letter to district superintendents:
As you know, I communicated directly to legislators on July 26 with concerns I have related to the ‘McCleary solution,’ and specifically E2SSB 6362 (2018). My communication focused on two main points: A) Legislative salary language for 2018–19 was not clear; and B) The new funding model creates disparate opportunities for districts to raise compensation in 2018–19 and beyond.
In a recent news story, Reykdal stated:
There’s simply no way that every district can do double-digit pay increases this next year.
The VPS board of directors and leadership team are committed to providing teachers and other district employees with fair and competitive wages in a fiscally responsible and sustainable manner. Please continue to check the contract negotiations webpage daily for updates.
On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, VPS sent a letter to families regarding back-to-school events and the status of contract negotiations. Families are encouraged to develop contingency plans in case a settlement is not reached by Aug. 29 (the first day of school) and VEA chooses to strike.