Port Angeles School Board OKs contract with educators

Office professionals continue to negotiate

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School Board unanimously approved a one-year contract with the Port Angeles Education Association at its last regularly scheduled board meeting.

Superintendent Marty Brewer said the contract approved by the school board on Thursday was good for the district and the PAEA.

“One thing that came out of the bargaining was a need to debrief so that we can have lessons learned from both sides,” Brewer said. “We have engaged a couple of times in discussions on what we learned, what worked, what didn’t work, so that we can formulate a plan moving forward to potentially resolve issues before they hit the day before school is scheduled to start.”

The new contract, which expires Aug. 31, 2023, can be found at https://tinyurl.com/2yutnecd.

The Port Angels School District (PASD) and the Port Angeles Education Association (PAEA) had reached a tentative agreement on the contract Sept. 5, the day before educators had threatened to strike if they did not have a deal in place. A resolution came after more than two weeks of increasingly longer and more intense bargaining sessions that finally involved the assignment of a mediator just days before the strike deadline.

Among the demands the PAEA fought for and received was a state-allocated cost-of-living salary increase of 5.5 percent.

The Port Angeles Paraeducator Association came to a tentative agreement with the PASD for the same state-allocated 5.5 percent cost-of-living increase Sept. 15, and its membership ratified it Sept. 21. The board will vote to approve the contract at its Oct. 13 meeting.

The Port Angeles Educational Office Professionals (PAEOP), which represents administrative and support staff, continues to bargain with the PASD for a new contract to replace the one signed in 2019 and that expired Aug. 31.

Speaking during the public comment period at the board meeting Thursday, PAEOP representative Christy Wilson-Marazon said its members were seeking a contract that recognized the vital role they played in PASD’s operations and that supported what she called “the need to survive in the modern economy,” which included a salary increase above the state-allocated 5.5 percent.

“Without office professionals, phones wouldn’t be answered, attendance wouldn’t be processed, state reports wouldn’t be submitted, payroll wouldn’t be processed, students wouldn’t be enrolled and athletic programs wouldn’t be organized,” Wilson-Marazon said.

“Office professionals are the people who create and maintain the processes that allow teachers and administrators and other school staff to focus on what they do best.”

Jennifer Proiette, a kindergarten teacher at Franklin Elementary, was introduced as the second PASD educator in as many years to be chosen the OSPI Olympic Region Educational Service District (OESD) 114 Teacher of Year.

Elementary school teacher Mary Kryszak earned that recognition in 2022. OESD Superintendent Aaron Leavell presented Proiette with the award and quoted from her colleagues’ nominations on Proiette’s behalf.

“Jennifer is creative and fun and engages all of her students in learning,” Leavell said. “She makes connections between school, family, culture and community. For example, students learn about the industries in town, such as the paper mill. They learn about paper and how it is made and then they take a field trip.”

OESD 114 includes 18 public, charter and tribal school districts on the Olympic Peninsula and Kitsap County.

Brewer swore in new student board representative, Yau Fu, a junior at Port Angeles High School. One representative each from Port Angeles High School and Lincoln High School are chosen to serve after an interview with the board president and a board member.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at Paula.Hunt@ soundpublishing.com

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