West Ada reaches tentative labor agreement

After an all-day mediation session Friday, the West Ada School District could have a contract deal for 2016-17.

Teachers and trustees still must sign on. The West Ada Education Association will vote on the tentative agreement later this week; if the union ratifies the deal, the school board will vote on it on July 26, district spokesman Eric Exline said.

On average, teachers in Idaho’s largest district would receive a 5.3 percent pay raise. But the actual raises would vary widely; some teachers would be in line for a 9 percent increase, while teachers at the top end of the salary scale would receive an additional 2 percent.

These top-end salaries have been a sticking point in West Ada’s negotiations. It comes back to how much money a district can, and will, add to its teacher salary pool.

In West Ada, $48,200 is the tipping point; this is the maximum salary the state covers under the teacher salary “career ladder.”

About three-fourths of the district’s 2,000 teachers make less than $48,200. Under the tentative agreement, these teachers would receive pay raises as spelled out under the career ladder. West Ada’s remaining teachers make more than $48,200 — and they fall outside the career ladder, which front-loads most pay raises into the low end of the salary scale. West Ada’s tentative agreement would provide smaller raises to veteran teachers.

District administrators and classified staff would receive 3 percent raises, as covered under the career ladder law.

Teachers would work 185 days — still down from the 190-day contract in place before the recession. West Ada has restored nine classroom days since 2009-10, Exline said, but has not restored five staff training days.

West Ada is not the only district to go to contract mediation this year. In Eastern Idaho’s Sugar-Salem district, a mediation session is scheduled for July 25. (More on the Sugar-Salem negotiations from Idaho Education News’ Devin Bodkin.)

More reading: Click here for a statewide roundup on contract negotiations.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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