MARYSVILLE – Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.
Finance director Mike Sullivan said Wednesday that to give Marysville School District teachers 14 percent raises fund balance money, also known as a rainy day fund, will have to be used.
The teachers union voted Aug. 30 in favor of a two-year agreement that boosted their pay an average of 14 percent. Therefore, school started on time Wednesday, after the school board made the final vote on the agreement Tuesday night.
Previously, the district had wanted to give teachers a 3.1 percent increase and build up the fund balance for the future as local property taxes fall by 60 percent in the amount given to schools.
But the district decided it needed to give Marysville teachers big increases to compete with neighboring school districts.
“We want to attract and retain good-quality teachers in our district,” Sullivan said.
He said district policy is to have an 8 percent fund balance. He said the district should be able to retain that for a few years, but by 2022 the district’s savings would be depleted.
The Marysville School District and the Marysville Education Association reached an agreement on contract negotiations that include percentage increases based on education, credits, years of service and educational degrees. New teachers would make $53,408 a year, with the cap being $111,476 a year.
“We trusted the process and worked together to find a solution in the midst of challenges that are out of our control, given the complexities of the new state funding system,” interim superintendent, Jason Thompson said.
“The district went to extraordinary lengths to listen and respond to our concerns,” MEA president Randy Davis said. “As one example, new teachers will now be supported by full-time mentor teachers with a model developed in collaboration between the association and district.”
Thompson said negotiations went well with the teachers understanding why the district couldn’t give as big of raises as some others, but that work will be done in the state legislature to try to even out the playing field in the future. Some districts gave raises as high as 20 percent.
“We share the Marysville School District’s concern with how this new system will affect Marysville in the long run,” said Davis. “Equality and equity are not the same, and our legislators must address inequities created by the new funding system during the upcoming legislative session.”
Sullivan said Marysville gets $1,500 per student with the legislature’s new process, while many others get $2,500 per student. He listed Shoreline as an example, which gets more money because of higher property values.
He said he hopes the legislature changes that so Marysville’s fund balance isn’t depleted, but he can’t count on that.
At the school board vote Tuesday, director Pete Lundberg said he’s happy for everyone.
“The community counted on us, and we came through,” he said.
Director Tom Albright emphasized the need to go back to the legislature on this issue.
“We should go to Olympia together,” he said, referring to the district and the MEA. “Each student is not worth $1,000 less. Together we are stronger.”