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MLSD, teachers union approve three-year contract

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | September 11, 2022 4:47 PM

MOSES LAKE — Moses Lake School District personnel with instructional certification will receive a 7.5% pay raise for the 2022-23 school year. Moses Lake School Board members approved a three-year contract with the Moses Lake Education Association at the regular board meeting Thursday.

The contract was approved on a unanimous vote with no discussion. Michelle Musso, the district’s human resources director, said in a Friday email that the MLEA ratified the contract Aug. 29.

“It was quite a challenge getting to where we are,” Musso said.

During the meeting, she expressed her appreciation to the MLEA negotiating team.

“(Education association negotiators) were very patient, very gracious and very understanding as we went through a lot of changes here in administration during the actual bargaining,” Musso said.

Musso said she and Jeremy O’Neil, the district’s chief operating officer, were the only two administrators who participated in the negotiations from start to finish.

Musso said salary increases in the remaining two years of the contract will be tied to the cost of living.

District officials added a new provision for counselors, occupational therapists and other specialists. Specialists who receive national certification in their fields will receive a $2,500 stipend, Musso said.

“We did implement a split class stipend of $2,500 for those teachers who have a split class to manage (with) two different curriculums that they have to manage and prepare for,” Musso said.

The new contract retains some of the changes made in the previous agreement for the 2021-22 school year governing caseloads for special education, she said. Teachers who are new to MLSD receive payment for attending new teacher training each August, and that amount was increased, she said.

The policies governing days off (personal leave) for teachers were changed. Previously no more than 7% percent of certificated staff district-wide could be gone at any one time. The new contract changes that to 7% of the staff at individual schools.

“So that buildings have more autonomy in determining how they meet the needs of covering staff,” Musso said.

Assistant superintendent Carol Lewis also expressed her appreciation to the MLEA negotiators.

“I just want to publicly thank (the) bargaining team with MLEA for their passion, persistence, commitment, and really, collaboration and cooperation with our team to come up with a contract that is very agreeable to both of us,” Lewis said.

Cheryl Schweizer may be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com. Find more news on the Columbia Basin Herald app - available on iOS and Android devices.

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