SCHOOL DIS­TRICT DIS­PUTE SET­TLED

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY TRI-CITY HER­ALD STAFF

Kennewick School Dis­trict has reached a ten­ta­tive con­tract agree­ment with parae­d­u­ca­tors, who plan to vote on the new con­tract Thurs­day.

Kennewick School Dis­trict reached a ten­ta­tive con­tract agree­ment Fri­day evening with its parae­d­u­ca­tors who were headed to­ward a strike vote.

In­stead, the school em­ploy­ees plan to vote on rat­i­fy­ing the terms of a new con­tract on Thurs­day.

“We have urged Kennewick School Dis­trict to ne­go­ti­ate liv­able wages for over 600 mem­bers in our chap­ter, and we are glad that they heard our voices and de­cided to come back to the ta­ble,” Brandy Strait, parae­d­u­ca­tor at Canyon View El­e­men­tary said in a news re­lease.

She is co-pres­i­dent of the parae­d­u­ca­tors/cashiers chap­ter of Pub­lic School Em­ploy­ees of Washington SEIU Lo­cal 1948.

The chap­ter, which also rep­re­sents li­censed prac­ti­cal nurses, held ral­lies and pick­ets through­out the week and was plan­ning a strike vote af­ter months of con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions had failed to reach an agree­ment.

But ne­go­ti­a­tions with school dis­trict of­fi­cials re­sumed Fri­day and both is­sued re­leases to the me­dia later in the evening.

“The dis­trict would like to thank the mem­bers from both bar­gain­ing teams for all of their hard work to reach this ten­ta­tive agree­ment,” said a dis­trict re­lease from Robyn Chas­tain, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and pub­lic re­la­tions.

The de­tails of the con­tract pro­posal were not re­leased Fri­day.

“We will present the ten­ta­tive agree­ment to our mem­ber­ship and de­cide next steps pend­ing the out­come of the rat­i­fi­ca­tion vote,” said Strait.

Parae­d­u­ca­tors, who work with vul­ner­a­ble spe­cial needs and be­hav­iorally-chal­lenged stu­dents, are re­quired to hold an AA de­gree or pass an equiv­a­lency test to be hired, a union news re­lease said.

En­try-level parae­d­u­ca­tors cur­rently make un­der $14 an hour in Kennewick and are paid for un­der 200 days per year, it said.

A strike vote could take place if mem­bers re­ject the ten­ta­tive agree­ment Thurs­day.

NOELLE HARO-GOMEZ Tri-City Her­ald

Kennewick parae­d­u­ca­tors and sup­port­ers rally Tues­day near the school dis­trict of­fice.

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