West Ada labor agreement approved

The state’s largest school district has a contract with its 2,000 teachers.

On Tuesday night, West Ada school trustees ratified a 2016-17 master agreement — nearly a month after the start of the budget year, and 11 days after a federal mediator helped district and union leaders strike a deal.

West Ada district logoPay for veteran teachers was a sticking point in the negotiations. West Ada receives state funding for teacher salaries up to a $48,200 cap, and about a fourth of the district’s teachers make more than $48,200. Districts can, and often do, supplement the state’s dollars with local money — and this will happen under the West Ada agreement.

However, veteran teachers will receive smaller raises, some in the 2 percent range. Less-experienced teachers will receive raises of 9 percent.

On average, West Ada teachers will receive a 5.3 percent pay raise.

“(The agreement) isn’t perfect, indeed no negotiated agreement ever is, but it’s a step forward,” newly appointed trustee Steve Smylie wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday.

Tuesday night’s board vote was unanimous. Last week, West Ada Education Association members ratified the agreement with 91 percent support.