The end of monthslong negotiations on a new contract for Battle Ground Public Schools teachers is in sight, as the district announced it and the teachers union had reached a tentative agreement Sept. 20.
On the following day, the district announced the agreement with the Battle Ground Education Association on a new contract for teachers, counselors and other employees covered by the union. Before becoming official, the contract must be ratified by the education association, which had a vote scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 26, and the BGPS Board of Directors at its Oct. 9 meeting, a district news release stated.
A draft of the tentatively-approved contract was not available as of press time. The release stated it would be published publicly following formal approval from both the district and the union.
BGPS Denny Waters was grateful for both bargaining teams’ diligent work over the past several months to reach the agreement.
“Battle Ground Public Schools is fortunate to have a talented, dedicated workforce who will continue to do great things on behalf of our students and communities,” Waters said in the release. “I thank our staff, families, students and community members for their patience and understanding as we completed the collective bargaining process.”
Bargaining began in January, and the current contract expired Aug. 31. Two days before, the Battle Ground Education Association voted not to strike if negotiations could not turn an agreement before school started Aug. 30.
Battle Ground Education Association President Kim Bettger also thanked both bargaining teams for their work.
“Although collaboration and innovation take time, this process allowed us to explore new ways to better support students and families,” Bettger said in the BGPS release. “We look forward to a great school year.”
Compensation, class sizes and multilingual learning support in the contract were points of discussion, according to the district. As of the latest publicly-available information from BGPS, there was a discrepancy in a pay raise in the first of three years covered under the contract.
The union’s decision not to strike prevented a situation BGPS experienced in 2018 where the district teachers striked for 12 days. That strike was one of a number across the region following changes in state school funding from the Washington State Legislature.