District, union ratify new teacher contract
The West Linn-Wilsonville School Board unanimously approved a three-year contract Monday evening that gives educators a 3 percent cost of living increase each year, totaling a 9 percent increase over three years.
The 2018-21 bargaining agreement between the WL-WV School District and the WL-WV Education Association (WWEA) bargaining committee — comprised of more than 12 teacher representatives in the district — highlighted changes to the previous contract, including a shift from a two to a three-year contract, a $20 increase to the district's insurance premium contributions each year and adding more Professional Growth Wednesdays at the primary-level.
"We are a unique district in many ways and one of the unique qualities I find is the collaborative nature between the West Linn-Wilsonville Education Association and the district leadership," Lane Johnson, president of WWEA, said during the Sept. 10 school board meeting. "We work in a way that is moving toward solution as opposed to finding reasons why we differ. We work hard to make sure we are working together to get to the same place."
Bargaining began April 4 and concluded June 20. On Aug. 30, WWEA ratified the contract with educators — 98 percent approved.
The primary calendar will also have four additional Professional Growth Wednesdays to allow teachers more time to work together.
After board member Betty Reynolds heard about the addition of occupational therapy and physical therapy caseload limits regarding preschool, she raised concern about counselor caseloads. Reynolds said she hoped to see counselor caseloads addressed at a different time.
"Our counselors have such a heavy caseload and I'm hoping we can continue other efforts to address behavior and mental health in the context of student safety," Reynolds said.
WL-WV Superintendent Kathy Ludwig said she wanted to remind the school board that over the last three years, the district increased the number of counselors each year.
Ginger Fitch, school board chair, addressed the national teacher walkouts to protest low wages and rising health care costs.
"I heard rumblings in the community, 'Oh, there are strikes going on in Washington, how's your district?'" Fitch said. "I'm always pleased to say we have a good relationship with our union and with our teachers. We strive to work together to make sure that we're strong."