Tentative contract agreement reached between paraeducators and KSD

KENNEWICK, Wash. - The bargaining between the Kennewick School District and paraeducators may soon come to a close after a tentative agreement was reached Friday night.

Union members of the Public School Employees Kennewick chapter met today to bargain a contract agreement. Now, the chapter will vote to ratify a tentative contract agreement with the Kennewick School District on Jan. 17.

"We will present the tentative agreement to our membership and decide next steps pending the outcome of the ratification vote," said Brandy Strait, paraeducator and co-president of the chapter.

Paras and teachers have been rallying for a few days, supporting a pay increase. Early Friday morning, they were outside Vista Elementary. 

The vote on the tentative agreement will take an entire membership to ratify the contract. 

KSD released a statement stating, “Kennewick School District is pleased to announce that it has reached a tentative contract agreement with paraeducators. Paraeducators will hold a contract ratification meeting on Thursday, January 17. The district would like to thank the members from both bargaining teams for all of their hard work to reach this tentative agreement.”

Currently, paraeducators start at $13.37 an hour, according to Travis Tingvall, Communications specialist at PSE. For Tier II paraeducators, a position that requires an AA, they currently make $13.37/per hour. 

On Jan. 8, a contract agreement between the Kennewick School District and paraeducators was not approved. Instead, a strike vote was authorized at the union meeting, before this tentative agreement was reached.

A strike vote will take place if chapter members vote down the tentative agreement Jan 17.

If they decide to strike, the Kennewick Education Association has said their teachers will not go to work, a resolution passed by the KEA.

According to the Public School Employees of Washington, there are more than 600 paraeducators in the chapter.

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