Teachers in the Kent School District agreed to a new three-year contract. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Kent School District

Teachers in the Kent School District agreed to a new three-year contract. COURTESY FILE PHOTO, Kent School District

Kent teachers ratify 3-year contract just 2 years after strike

Kent Education Association (union) reaches agreement with Kent School District

Kent School District teachers ratified a tentative three-year contract agreement on Wednesday, June 26, much sooner than in 2022 when a settlement wasn’t reached until after a nine-day strike.

“Our members feel a sense of relief to be able to go into the summer without worrying about a bargain going on, especially after the last one had to go to a strike before it was able to be settled,” said Tim Martin, president of the Kent Education Association (KEA, teachers union), in a June 27 email.

KEA and the school district leaders have been bargaining since February, Martin said. They had hoped to reach an agreement before the school year ended on June 14.

“Although we didn’t make that timeline, we were close,” Martin said. “Our TA (tentative agreement) was approved with an 85% yes vote, which is a strong vote.”

The Kent School Board might vote on the contract at its July 10 meeting, if all documents are ready, Martin said. That vote might be pushed out to July 24.

“Our members top two priorities were workload/caseload and mental health support, and lastly was salary,” Martin said of the just over 2,000 members. “The feedback we have received from most of our members is that it is a good contract, especially given the financial situation most other districts are facing with the ESSER (federal pandemic) funding going away.”

The estimated salary range for 2024-2025 is $70,866 for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree to $138,371 for a teacher with 20 years, a master’s degree and 90 graduate class credits. Teachers earn more based on the number of years they’ve taught and graduate credits earned beyond their bachelor’s degree.

The average teacher’s salary for the 2023-2024 school year in Kent was $100,417, according to salary figures released in 2022 by the Kent School District following agreement on the current two-year contract. About 75% of the KEA members are at the master degree experience level or higher, which leads to more pay.

For 2025-2026, the estimated salaries will increase to $72,233 for a first-year teacher to $141,000 to a teacher with 20 years and a master’s with the 90 or more credits. In 2026-2027, the salaries increase to an estimated $74,472 and $145,371, an overall jump of about 5% in three years.

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