Thursday, September 3, 2015

How well are Spokane Public Schools employees paid anyway?

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 5:32 PM

With the deadline for a strike ebbing down, Spokane Public Schools and the Spokane Education Association finally announced a potential one-year contract. It still has to be ratified by the union's general membership on Tuesday, but for now, you can breathe easy young nerds: School will remain in session.

Here's the announcement: 
Tentative Agreement reached between District and Spokane EA

The Spokane Education Association and Spokane School District are pleased to jointly announce we’ve finally come to a Tentative Agreement avoiding a strike tomorrow morning.

Spokane EA members are meeting at a General Membership meeting Tuesday evening to go over the new contract and to discuss whether or not to ratify the TA.

SEA members voted at a General Membership Meeting last Friday to strike beginning tomorrow if no Tentative Agreement was reached. Talks stalled before the two sides agreed to work with a state-appointed mediator.

The one-year contract makes progress toward several issues pertinent to building world class schools including professional development, workload and compensation.
We’re very proud of the high-quality education our students deserve and receive here in Spokane, Supt. Shelley Redinger says. We’re very pleased we’ve come to an agreement that meets the needs of the District and values our employees.

We appreciate the dedication of our members to the families and students in our District and we’re happy we can avert a strike, SEA President Jenny Rose says. Our bargaining team says they feel they have worked hard with the District to come to a fair and reasonable settlement.

Both teams say they appreciate working with the state mediator who was assigned to help them move forward and both teams say they appreciate the patience and support shown by our parents and other community members during this difficult negotiations period.

School and activities will continue on Friday as scheduled. 
But the underlying question remains: How well are the district's teachers, instructional assistants, maintenance workers and other staffers paid anyway? And because a salary in Spokane can get you a lot further than that same salary in Seattle, how does that compare if you adjust for things like supply, demand, and cost of living? 

It's a question the district asked a Segal Waters Consulting consulting group earlier this year

The lengthy resulting study highlights just how complicated things can are during union negotiations. Electricians, for example, do a lot better when compared to their peers than Nutrition Services employees. But while entry-level Nutrition Services employees only get paid 92 percent of the market rate, they top out at 115 percent of the market rate. 

Give it a look.

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, Daniel Walters was a staff reporter for the Inlander from 2009 to 2023. He reported on a wide swath of topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.His work investigated deep flaws in the Washington...