• After days of rallies, negotiations, Kent teachers reach agreement with district

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    KENT, Wash. - Students in Kent will head back to school as planned Thursday morning after a teachers’ strike was averted.

    Less than 24 hours ago, the teacher's union and district reached a tentative agreement that promises a boost in teacher pay.

    More than 1,100 educators showed up at Kent Meridian High School’s gym Wednesday night, according to the Kent Education Association, with 69 percent of them voting to ratify a tentative agreement with the district, avoiding a likely strike and ensuring the start of classes.

    The vote followed days of rallies and negotiations.

    According to the Kent Reporter, Kent teachers will receive a 10 percent boost in pay the first year and a 4.5 percent boost the next – a big difference from the 3.1 percent cost of living increase they were initially offered.

    Kent had been one of several local school districts negotiating salaries because of the McCleary decision -- a Supreme Court ruling that required the state to fully fund education, with nearly a billion dollars earmarked. Some of that money was supposed to go to teachers' salaries.

    According to the union's Facebook page, the Kent School district will be getting nearly $74 million over the next two years because of that court ruling, but had initially planned to use the money for a rainy day fund and not paying teachers more.

    The union said the tentative agreement will help attract and retain teachers in the district.

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