District Seeks Mediation Assistance for Secretary Contract Negotiations
Snoqualmie Valley School District (SVSD) will be requesting mediation support from the state Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), related to current contract negotiations with the Snoqualmie Valley Secretarial Association (SVASA). The SVSD bargaining team conveyed this interest at the bargaining table on November 27.
Contract negotiations with the secretaries union has been ongoing since last spring. To date, the SVASA and SVSD bargaining teams have over 20 Tentative Agreements in place, as a result of 17 bargaining sessions together. While significant progress has been made, there are few contract terms that remain unresolved. Many school districts across the state have faced challenges this year during collective bargaining -- due to legislative changes in the state’s funding system for K-12 education, and the implications of those changes on district operations, compensation and staffing.
SVSD’s latest proposal to SVASA equates to an average increase of 18% in compensation over three years, with the majority of the increases beginning immediately. (Click here to compare the current salary schedule, followed by the proposed wages for three years.) The district’s compensation proposal is based on a comparative methodology that has been used successfully with all other employee groups in our district that have settled contracts in recent years. Our district compares the wages of the four neighboring districts (Lake Washington, Riverview, Issaquah and Tahoma) to quantify competitive wages in similar positions.
Given the significant investment of time and resources, it is important to the district to secure at least a three-year contract, which also is consistent with contract settlements of neighboring districts. In addition, the teacher and classified employee unions are currently scheduled to bargain in two years, and district resources are limited in providing the requisite time that each negotiation deserves.
The Snoqualmie Valley School District remains committed to employment agreements that are competitive and similar in duration with other school districts in our area, while being fiscally responsible to our community. We appreciate the time and energy that both bargaining teams have devoted to the negotiations process, and hope that the assistance of mediation will help reach a mutually-agreeable solution soon.
Contract negotiations will continue as soon as possible, pending the availability of a state mediator. Until a new contract is ratified, the current contract remains in place this school year.