PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School Board has approved collective bargaining agreements with three unions.
Formal approval was made during the regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday.
The Port Angeles Paraeducator Association (PAPEA), the Port Angeles Educational Office Professionals (PAEOP) and the Port Angeles School Employees (PSE) all received one-year contracts that will expire Aug. 31, 2023.
The PAPEA had sought an amended contract so it could negotiate an across-the-board cost of living increase of 5.5 percent, the number set by state lawmakers but which unions had to bargain for and the state does not fully fund.
The PAPEA successfully bargained for the raise.
“I want the district and the School Board to recognize that the work we do is significant in the success of our students,” said PAPEA president Rebecca Winters.
“We work with the most challenging students and go through hours and years of specialized training to support the needs of each student. Our kids deserve the best and they will get it here in Port Angeles.”
The PAEOP also negotiated a 5.5 percent across-the-board wage increase for its members, who perform a wide range of support services from answering phones, processing payroll and submitting reports to the state.
Contract negotiations with the Teamsters Local No. 589, which represents bus mechanics, and building and grounds operations personnel, are ongoing.
The Port Angeles Education Association (PAEA) had voted to authorize a strike Aug. 29, the week before the start of the new school year, if it could not come to an agreement with the district. This was averted when the two sides reached a tentative agreement Sept. 5. and, on Sept. 29, the school board approved a one-year contract with the union.
Business and operations director Kira Acker reported that more students are taking advantage of the free and reduced lunch program, which she credited to switching from applications to income surveys, which are easier to fill out.
This year, 62 percent of students are participating in the program compared to 54 percent this same time last year — an increase of about 14 percent. All district students who attend school in person can receive breakfast and lunch at no charge during the 2022-2023 school year through the USDA’S Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
In her enrollment report, Acker noted that the district’s full-time headcount enrollment of 3,471 for October is slightly above last year’s 3,462 enrollment. (These numbers do not include students in the Running Start program who attend classes at Peninsula College.)
Among the other items from the Thursday’s Board meeting:
Hamilton Elementary principal Gary Pringle introduced students of the month Aleida Palacios and Logan French.
Athletics and activities director Dwayne Johnson provided an overview of boys and girls fall and winter sports and presented a proposal to add girls bowling as a winter sport at the high school. The team would start practicing Oct. 31 and compete in 15-18 matches this season.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.