District officials and teachers reach a new two-year contract that ends strike
Students in the Camas School District are headed back to class Friday (Sept. 8).
Members of the Camas Education Association (CEA) voted to ratify a new two-year collective bargaining contract Thursday afternoon, ending the teachers’ strike that kept schools closed for nearly two weeks.
The negotiating teams for the district and the CEA reached a tentative agreement late Wednesday night. The teachers met Thursday afternoon at the Camas High School Auditorium for a briefing on the terms of the new agreement before voting to ratify the contract just after 3:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 7).
“We are happy to share that the Camas Education Association (CEA) and our district have tentatively agreed on a new, two-year collective bargaining contract,’’ Camas Superintendent John Anzalone shared in an email late Wednesday night. “On behalf of our more than 1,000 staff members, we are excited to welcome back our students on Friday, September 8, 2023, subject to ratification of the contract tomorrow.
“We want to express deep appreciation for our dedicated teachers and the negotiation teams who worked tirelessly to reach an agreement that reflects our shared commitment to our students’ well-being and educational experience, “Anzalone added. “The first day of school is always a special time, filled with anticipation and the promise of new opportunities. Thank you for your continued support, trust, and partnership. Together, we create an environment where our students can thrive and succeed.
“We wish you and your family a fantastic start to the school year,’’ he said.
Terms of the new contract were not immediately available. However, key topics agreed upon in the collective bargaining agreement include:
- Reduced Class Sizes: The agreement reduces class size limits, creating a more conducive learning environment for students and allowing teachers to provide personalized attention to their needs.
- Planning Time: Adequate planning time is crucial to ensuring effective teaching; the agreement includes provisions to allocate more time for educators to collaborate and engage in professional development.
- Increased Substitute Teacher Pay: Substitute teacher pay rates are increasing, making it more attractive for qualified substitutes to support our students and educators when needed.
- Special Education Supports: The agreement provides additional special education support, ensuring every student can access the resources and assistance needed to succeed.
- Salary Increases: Increased compensation demonstrates dedication to attracting and retaining the best educators in the field.
On Aug. 27, the district proposed a two-year contract to the CEA that included a raise of 5.7 percent for the 2023/2024 school year. That proposed increase would give Camas teachers an average salary of $110,032 in year one of the contract.
The CEA bargaining proposal included Cost of Living and other salary increases for each year of the agreement. The CEA was also seeking additional student support and learning outcomes in the form of Music, Physical Education, Health and Library program funding. The teachers also were asking for class size limits beginning with 18 for kindergarten, 22 for grades 1-2, 24 for grades 3-5, 30 for grades 6-8 and 34 for grades 9-12.
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