Arlington teachers, district reach tentative contract agreement

KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.

A tentative contract agreement has been reached between teachers and the Arlington School District.

On Monday, the head of the Arlington Teacher's Association said members will be presented the terms of the contract and vote on the tentative agreement on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Last week, teachers have voted overwhelmingly to strike if an agreement wasn't reached by September 6.

On Friday, Jason Klein prepared to welcome his students back to his classroom at Arlington High.

"I'm excited," he said. "It's a new year. We have lots of energy. We're all ready to go."

That excitement, however, was tempered by the lack of a contract between teachers and the Arlington School District.

With Arlington and all of Snohomish County growing, class sizes are rising.

Kindergarten though 3rd grade teachers are overloaded with up 29 students.

According to Klein, he has up to 32 kids in his social studies classes -- four more than before -- and teachers want the district to hire more help.

"Four more kids means four more papers, and every assignment, contacting parents, one-on-one with four more kids, that takes a lot of time," he said.

The union is also asking for better pay, especially for special education teachers.
  
Klein said the average teacher salary is about $57,000.

District spokesman Gary Sabol countered pay shouldn't be an issue.

"In comparison to other districts in our county, our teachers are among the highest paid," said Sabol. "If you look statewide, they're among the highest in the state, as well. We truly appreciate our teachers."

Muddying matters is McCleary.
  
The state Supreme Court decision that mandated full funding of education in Washington is sending some $3.5 million in new money to the district, but much of that still needs to be negotiated.

Union leaders say there has never been a teacher strike in Arlington. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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