The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) and the Lake Washington Education Association (LWEA) have agreed to a new contract for the next four years, the 2017-18 through 2020-21 school years.
The LWEA represents teachers in LWSD. The contract was ratified by 86.2 percent of the members of the LWEA in an online vote that concluded May 29. The LWSD Board of Directors voted to approve the new contract on June 5 at its regular board meeting.
As part of the contract, the two organizations negotiated the school calendar for the next four years, which will follow a similar pattern to the district’s current calendar. The primary change is the addition of a built-in snow day beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
The two organizations used an interest-based bargaining process, which involves a joint problem-solving approach.
“By focusing on what is best for students and our joint interests, the team worked collaboratively to develop an agreement that is beneficial to all,” noted Dr. Traci Pierce.
“By working together, the district and our association can better meet the needs of students,” said Kevin Teeley, president of the LWEA. “This contract shows the district’s respect for teachers as professionals and a commitment to collaboration.”
Highlights of the contract include a longer work day that provides more time for teachers to plan and to prepare lessons. They will be paid for the additional 30 minutes of work time. The additional paid time and competitive compensation will enable the district to attract and retain high quality teachers.
The district also increased compensation for substitute teachers to attract more candidates. This change responds to a shortage of substitute teachers.
The contract also provides for additional support in the areas of special education and elementary counselors. The district will invest in additional special education staff, including teachers and specialists. A full-time counselor will be assigned to each elementary school, to support student social/emotional development.
The school year calendar is developed through the bargaining process. The LWEA asked for input from its members while the LWSD surveyed parents. This input helped inform the development of the calendar for the next five years. The result is a calendar that is similar to current patterns. The most significant change is the addition of a built-in snow day, the Tuesday after Memorial Day, starting with the 2018-19 school year. If no school days are cancelled due to weather, students will get that day off.
A tentative calendar for the 2017-18 school year was developed during the bargaining for the last contract. The only change to the final calendar for next year is that a previously scheduled teacher in-service day on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend will now be a regular school day. That change enables the district to comply with the number of instructional hours required by state law.
Copies of the school calendars are posted online at www.lwsd.org then click on School Calendar.