EVERETT, Wash. – With several school districts on strike Thursday, Q13 News went to the Everett School District that started on time this year. The teachers union there boasts the highest paid veteran teachers in the state.
At McCollum Park Thursday afternoon, nearly 7-year old Jocelyn Olivares-Fane is pumped about school.
“I like being ready to learn,” said Olivares-Fane.
Her mother, Sasha Fane, credits her teacher for some of the enthusiasm.
“You could just see the light in the teacher’s eyes and that she was there because she wanted to be,” said Fane.
It might have something to do with the big pay bump Everett teachers got this year – nearly 15%. For the most senior teachers, like Kathi MacDonald, they could be getting up to $18,000 more this year.
“Thirty years of teaching. 30 first days of school, and I still get goosebumps as I’m getting right now,” said second grade teacher Kathi MacDonald.
Out of the classroom, Kathi feels relieved she can prepare for the education of her two teen boys.
“I have two boys -- a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old -- so college is looming right around the corner and there’s always that financial worry. This raise has been able to make us not worry quite as much,” said MacDonald.
The teacher’s union calls the pay raise ‘life changing’ and ‘well-deserved.’
“In many ways, this is making up for years of stale or no wage increases at all,” said Everett Education Association President Jared Kink.
So how did Everett teachers fair better than teachers in Tacoma?
The state Legislature dished out dollars based on cost of living in each school district. So Everett got a bigger chunk of state dollars than some South Sound schools.
“Our district, because of where we’re at, received a 24% regionalization,” said Kink.
Those extra dollars, plus a strong union and the school district showing its value in teachers in their paychecks, means veteran teachers in Everett get paid more than nearly anyone else in the state.
“They are experienced well-seasoned…they are the best,” said Kink.
After 30 years in teaching and with at least a master’s degree, teachers in Everett can top out at more than $103,000 a year.
Everett teachers just agreed to a new two-year contract with the school district. Next year, teachers will see about a 2 raise in salaries.