Mukilteo School District teachers urge elected officials to renegotiate their salaries at a school board meeting back in June 2018. On Monday, they got a deal they like. (Andrea Brown / Herald file)

Mukilteo School District teachers urge elected officials to renegotiate their salaries at a school board meeting back in June 2018. On Monday, they got a deal they like. (Andrea Brown / Herald file)

Mukilteo schools may soon have state’s highest paid teachers

Teachers ratified a new contract Monday and the Board of Education will consider it next month.

MUKILTEO — Teachers in Mukilteo public schools have overwhelmingly embraced a new three-year contract boosting starting pay for new teachers and pushing salaries of seasoned instructors to the highest in the state.

Members of the Mukilteo Education Association on Monday approved terms of the collective bargaining agreement which covers wages and a plethora of other issues including reducing class sizes in lower grades and adding supports for special needs students.

The Mukilteo School Board of Education is expected to act on it July 15. The new contract would take effect Sept. 1 and run through Aug. 31, 2022.

Ratification of a deal in June — coincidentally on the eve of the final school day — is unusual because typically such negotiations between districts and unions don’t wrap up until August.

It’s an even bigger feat in Mukilteo where 10 months ago teachers made a full-court press for pay hikes following an infusion of state dollars as part of a resolution to the McCleary school funding case. They protested, picketed, talked of strikes and even took a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Marci Larsen before settling for one-time raises of around 13 percent.

“The negotiations this year were a far cry from last year,” said Dana Wiebe, president of the nearly 1,100-member association. “We wanted to heal what had happened in the past. I don’t think any of us wanted it to go so awry but it did.

“Together, we worked very hard to get a June agreement that would do great things for our teachers and our students,” she said. “In my opinion, we did that.”

Both sides were interested in getting it done smoothly, said district spokesman Andy Muntz.

“We’re happy that we’ve got an agreement,” he said. “We’re also happy that we were able to get the tentative agreement done so early.”

Under the tentative agreement, the annual salary in the 2019-20 school year for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree would be $60,000, up from the current $58,481. The roughly 2.6 percent increase will put the level of pay closer to the $62,688 salary offered to new teachers in neighboring Edmonds School District.

At the other end of the scale, a teacher with 12 or more years experience and a master’s degree, would see their annual wages climb from $111,348 to $120,776, an increase of about 8.5 percent.

The contract also provides them a $3,000 stipend for earning a master’s and will push their salary to $123,776 and make them the highest paid in the state. Currently, the top mark of $123,291 — with a master’s stipend — is paid to the most experienced teachers in the Everett School District.

The deal calls for across-the-board raises of at least 2.5 percent in the second and third years of the contract.

“Our goal was to be competitive with our neighboring districts because we had people leaving for Everett and Edmonds,” Wiebe said. “The agreement recommits Mukilteo as a leader in professional compensation, which will help us be competitive at attracting and retaining teachers.”

The leader of the Everett Education Association applauded the accomplishment of Mukilteo teachers and said their gains on salaries will be part of the conversation next year when Everett teachers seek a new contract.

“I’m really happy for Mukilteo teachers,” said Jared Kink, president of the Everett teacher’s union. “I’ve always said every teacher deserves a great, fair and competitive salary.”

Kink and association members have long prided themselves on working with the district to offer the state’s highest salary to the most experienced teachers.

“If that’s no longer the situation, then the Everett School District and the Everett Education Association have got some work to do,” he said.

Terms of the tentative agreement in Mukilteo apply to teachers and certificated employees, not paraeducators or classified employees, Muntz said.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

More in News & Comment

Early wake-up call: Twin quakes under Monroe rattle region

Thousands of people felt them. They were magnitude 4.6 and 3.5 and hit minutes apart.

Warning sign for a road closure. File photo
King County examines options to fund roads and bridges

Shortfall is roughly $250 million each year; county may seek tax from unincorporated voters.

City of Everett wins in bikini barista federal court case

The baristas are unsure of their next steps but may file for a rehearing, their lawyer said.

Dozens of wedding gowns stolen from Lynnwood boutique

Some brides-to-be may be left without a dress after a burglary at Brides and Beyond.

As time expires, Eyman lacks signatures for anti-tax measure

In spite of the setback, Eyman still has an initiative dealing with car tabs on the November ballot.

State Senate to conduct inquiry into public comments by Mona Das

District 47 senator claimed racism, sexism present at Democratic caucus meetings

Tensions run high at Renton library over Drag Queen Story Hour

Supporters and protesters traded chants at June 27 event.

Snohomish County is a vacation hotspot — for Seattleites

People seeking relative peace and quiet are boosting the area’s third-biggest industry.

She’d go back to prison if it would erase her $7.6M debt

Christine Hendrickson stole expensive software from Microsoft. She’ll never pay off the restitution.

Where’s the next Sea-Tac? Aviation here is expected to soar

A new study predicts demand for airline service in the Puget Sound region will double by 2050.

Mountain biking, disc golf mark seasons shift at Stevens

Widely known for its winter wonderland, summer at Stevens Pass offers other opportunities.

SeaTac man guilty of 1987 murders solved with DNA technique

In an unprecedented trial, a jury convicted William Talbott in the slayings of a young Canadian couple.