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Regarding Negotiations

Following are answers to some of the questions you may have about the
negotiations and the financial situation with which we are faced.

Added 9/15/15
What is it that the union is asking for?
In addition to contract language changes, the KEA insisted that their target was to
be comparable to Longview in salary.

What was the Districts offer?
The most recent offer from the Kelso School Board has teacher compensation
close to Longview teacher salaries for the current school year and exceeding
Longviews salaries next year. The Kelso Education Association so far has rejected
that offer.

How do the two districts compare with the Kelso School Boards current
Click here to see a side-by-side comparison:

This proposal provides an additional 4.48% raise, in addition to the 3% cost
of living adjustment (COLA) in 2015/16, the 1.8% COLA in 2016/17, and
any step raises earned for longevity and/or clock hour/college credit
*The increase of 8 TRI days over the first two years is in recognition of
additional time and responsibilities required of teachers as discussed
throughout contract negotiations.
**This proposal will provide all teachers a pay raise of 9.28% - 18% over
three years.
***This proposal will bring Kelso teachers to above parity/equality with
Longview teachers compensation in 2016/17.

What is the Boards involvement?
All statements and information released by the District office staff are expressing
the viewpoint of the Kelso School Board. The Board has seen every proposal made
and received, and has provided the parameters for the School District bargaining

Added 9/10/15
Q: Where are we in the process?
A: The Kelso Education Association and the Kelso School District began bargaining
this contract on March 23, 2015. We will be using a mediator as we continue to
bargain and exchange proposals to meet the needs and interests of all parties.

Q: What are the districts goals for this negotiation?
To agree upon a fair and equitable contract.
To sustain the Kelso School Districts programs and services our community
expects for students.

Q: How many contractual items are being negotiated?

A: Approximately 30 items are currently being discussed.

Q: What progress are we making in addressing contractual items during
A: We currently have 27 tentative agreements on contractual language changes
with our teachers union.

Q: What major issues remain to be negotiated?
A: Compensation around workload, due process rights for employees, and length
of contract.

Q: How are teachers in the state of Washington paid?
A: Teachers are paid in the following ways:
State salary schedule (paid by the state)
TRI days* (paid by Kelso School District)
Additional responsibilities such as coaching, etc. (paid by Kelso School
*A TRI day is

Q: How do teachers receive additional pay?
A: The District currently pays teachers for an additional 15 days of work beyond
their contract, 5 of which are planned by the district for professional
development, with the remaining 10 days for worked performed beyond the
contract day/year. The cost of these 15 teacher days is $1,575,000 per year, paid
out of local, voter approved levy funds, not state dollars.

Q: What has happened over the last seven years with the state salary schedule?
A: No change from the state legislature.

Q: What has happened over the last seven years to the TRI days?
A: At the local level the Kelso School District added 3 days in 2009 and 3 more
days in 2012.

Q: How have Kelso School District employees been paid?
A: For the 2012-2015 teacher contract, the District gave 3 additional days of
compensation without any funding for salary increases from the state. This also
occurred for the 2009-2012 teacher contract.

Q: Doesnt the Kelso School District have an ending fund balance we could use?
A: The Districts ending fund balance reduced from 10% to 7.8% during the 2012-
2015 period. This was due largely to implementing full-day Kindergarten and
hiring teachers throughout the District with only partial state funding.

Q: What is the most recent compensation package offered to the teachers
A: The District is proposing adding three (3) TRI (time, responsibility, incentive)
days in 2015/16, and two (2) additional TRI days in 2016/17. The District is also
proposing to add an additional step increase for veteran teachers (17+ year step
increase) in the amount of $1,000 beginning in 2015/16.

Q: What length of contract is the District proposing?
A: The District is proposing a 3-year contract.

Q: Isnt the State providing all employees with a cost of living adjustment
A: Yes. The State is providing all employees with a 3% COLA in 2015/16 and a
1.8% COLA in 2016/17. This would be in addition to what the school district is

Q: What is the cost of the Districts proposal over 3 years beyond what the State
COLA is paying?
A: The Districts proposed compensation package for teachers will cost
$1,846,000 over three years, beyond what the State is providing for COLAs.

Q: What impact will the States cost of living adjustment and the school
districts proposal have on teacher compensation?
A: For 2015/16, a veteran teacher at the top of the salary schedule will see a raise
of $4,188 per year. Their total compensation will rise from $69,521 in 2014/15 to
$73,709 in 2015/16. This is an increase of 6% in year 1. In 2016/17, their salary
would increase $2,057, to $75,766. The two-year increase combined is nearly 9%.

Q: Why did the school district propose a step increase for veteran teachers
A: Teachers new to the profession through 16 years of service receive a yearly
step salary increase ranging from one (1%) percent to three and a half (3.5%)
percent. This is an automatic annual pay increase. Teachers in seventeen years of
service and beyond do not receive step increases. The proposed increase to
veteran teachers would help provide equity in compensation for all teachers due
to the lack of raises the Legislature has provided for veteran teachers over the
past seven years.

Q: What impact would the districts compensation proposal have on a teacher
in the middle of the salary schedule (Masters Degree with 8 years of
A: For 2015/16, the teacher will see a raise of $2,277. Their total compensation
will raise from $49,650 in 2014/15 to $51,927 in 2015/16. This is an increase of
4.6% in year 1. In 2016/17, their salary would increase almost $3,110, to $55,037,
with two additional TRI days (district paid) and a 1.8% cost of living
adjustment. The two-year increase combined is 10.85%.

Q: What impact will this have on the set graduation day?
A: The current graduation date could be impacted depending on the number of
days of a potential strike.