Students in two districts in Washington state finally started the school year last week, after teachers in the communities called off their strikes. (See Education Week, Sept. 18, 2002.)
Classes began Sept. 25 in Snohomish and Issaquah, where teachers had been on strike since Sept. 4, which had been scheduled as the first day of school.
A King County Superior Court judge ruled on Sept. 23 that the Issaquah strike was illegal and that teachers must return to work in the 14,000-student district. The district’s 850 teachers later overwhelmingly ratified an agreement that includes a 3.8 percent pay raise over two years.
Snohomish teachers agreed to a two-year contract that will pay them raises of 2.08 percent in the first year and 1.75 percent in the second year above the state- financed cost-of-living adjustment. The district enrolls about 8,200 students.
Rich Wood, a spokesman for the Washington Education Association, said the issues in both communities turned on making teachers’ pay competitive with what other districts and states pay.
In both districts, the school year will be extended to make up the lost instructional time.—ANN BRADLEY