Hoquiam teachers approve contract

Hoquiam teachers have accepted a two-year contract from the Hoquiam School District, according to Hoquiam Teachers Association President Laurie Gordon.

The contract provides substantial raises, but Hoquiam School superintendent Mike Villarreal, would not provide the numbers on the record.

The ratification vote was Wednesday. Gordon said 87 percent of the district’s teachers attended the ratification meeting and “the vote was unanimous … . The mood of the room was celebratory, but also was reflective of deep appreciation and thankfulness to the Hoquiam School District and its school board.”

The contract is for two years and 180 days and “will pay beginning teachers $47,560 and experienced teachers at the top of the pay scale $92,533, with a 3 percent increase next year,” said Gordon. “It adds special education language that has been lacking for some time (and) gives teachers a personal day not deducted from sick leave the first year, and two personal days not deducted the second year.

“The association is very pleased with the contract,” said Gordon.

Talks between Gordon and Villarreal were long and, at times, heated, but Gordon said in the end she believes the district offered a deal that would benefit everyone for years to come.

“I am so thankful to the school board for their commitment to not only retaining our talented teachers here in Hoquiam but also to attracting the brightest and best of our profession,” said Gordon. “I am grateful that the process is over and especially proud of the hard work by both bargaining teams to come to this historic agreement with the district. The citizens of Hoquiam whose stalwart support we cherish can be thankful that the best and brightest will continue educating our students.”

Villarreal was working Friday to tighten up and clarify some of the verbiage in the contract, getting ready to present it to the school board next week for final approval. He said the the agreement reached in Hoquiam is very similar to the one recently reached with teachers in the Montesano School District.

The contract will be up for final approval by the school board at its Oct. 18 meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the Hoquiam High School library. The details of the contract will become public after board approval.