MARYSVILLE – “McCleary’s decided. The funds have been provided.”
A small portion of the approximately 300 teachers at the Marysville School Board meeting Monday night chanted that slogan as they left the room. The sea of red shirts looked a lot like a Nebraska Cornhuskers home game, with supporters spilling into the hall and outside.
Board president Tom Albright thanked the group for coming.
“We’re all about the same thing,” he said to applause.
Randy Davis, president of the Marysville Education Association teachers union, spoke to the board about the desire to come to a contract agreement before school starts Sept. 5. “It’s crunch time,” he said. Davis said teachers statewide have spent a decade working with the state legislature for better pay. Thanks to the McCleary state Supreme Court decision, that is now possible, he added.
Davis said the state has provided $1 billion more for salaries, on top of the $1 billion last year. “This should be fun. We’re all winners,” he said.
Davis said, “We have made progress” in negotiations, and both sides have been reasonable. “It’s not our way or the highway,” he said of the union’s demands.
But the celebration needs to be finished, he said. He compared it to public schools winning the Super Bowl, but instead of celebrating together the owners took the trophy and ran with it.
“We earned it, but we didn’t get to look at it or touch it,” he said.
Davis said teachers are being told they won’t get double-digit raises like other districts because of disparities in the legislature’s new process.
“We know some had a bigger blowout than others,” he said, again referring to a Super Bowl win.
But that doesn’t mean teachers shouldn’t get more than the 3.1 percent raise the district is now offering.
He said from 2016-2021 the district will receive 19 percent more from the state. “That’s not a financial crisis,” he said to applause.
Director Pete Lundberg, at meeting’s end, said the district wants to be good stewards of taxpayer money, but he wants to make sure money the state has given to districts for teacher salaries goes for just that.
“I hope we can get this resolved and move forward so we can focus on the kids,” he added.