School to start on time in Port Angeles

Tentative agreement reached in negotiations

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles School District and the Port Angeles Education Association reached a tentative agreement for a new contract on Monday, possibly averting a strike the union membership authorized if it did not have one in place by today.

The district also announced Monday that classes would resume as scheduled on time today for first- through 12th-graders and on Wednesday for kindergartners.

Port Angeles Education Association (PAEA) members were set to meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the high school auditorium to discuss and vote on whether or not to ratify it. The new contract would expire Aug. 31, 2023.

If the PAEA ratifies the proposal, the school board would vote on it at its next scheduled meeting Sept. 22 at Lincoln Center.

“I’m happy that we had good, productive conversations today, and I’m very happy that we were able to reach an agreement,” said PAEA president John Henry. “I think it’s good for our members, and I think it’s good for our students. Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing my students tomorrow.”

Superintendent Marty Brewer said: “I’m really pleased that we were able to provide a fair contract that is sustainable by the school district and treats our educators with the respect they so deserve. Our teachers work incredibly hard and we’re very proud of that.”

The district and union bargaining teams met at 9 a.m. Monday and reached a tentative agreement about 1:30 p.m. They had taken Sunday off after spending 12 hours at the bargaining table Saturday.

A mediator with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC), the state agency that handles labor disputes including collective bargaining, began working with the two sides Friday to assist them in reaching a resolution.

Brewer said the PERC mediator played a key role in shepherding the two sides toward a resolution after negotiations intensified over the past few weeks.

The previous PAEA contract — which covered teachers, counselors, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists — expired Aug. 31 and the union had been pushing for smaller class sizes, more and compensated, guaranteed preparation time and a salary increase.

The school district pointed out on its website that the funds allocated by the state for a salary increase would leave it on the hook for more than a half-million dollars if the union were to seek an across-the-board 5.5 percent raise for members.

District communications spokesperson Carmen Geyer said the proposal would be posted on its website sometime this week.

Both Brewer and Henry acknowledged the situation created uncertainty for parents and students of whether or not school would be delayed or interrupted.

“It’s something that we talked about with our team today,” Henry said. “After this is done, we’re going to sit down and debrief the process and talk about that and see if there are ways that we can work together to make sure that we get it done in a more timely fashion next time.”

Brewer said the district and union were in agreement about sitting down to talk about strategies moving forward and “what did and didn’t work in the bargaining to try to hopefully avoid it in the future.”


Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at

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