Toppenish Teachers Agree on New Contract - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Toppenish Teachers Agree on New Contract

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TOPPENISH, Wash - After months of discussion the teacher union in Toppenish reaches a contract agreement with the school board.  A vote was taken among the teachers to make it official.  Seventy one of 72 teachers voted in favor of the new contract.

Now teachers can come to school Wednesday with one thing in mind, their classroom.

"[I can] definitely breath a sigh of relief that this is over, one less thing to worry about.  Now I can just teach," says Kim Thomas, a 2nd grade teacher in the district. 

"I'm relieved because we can get back to things that really matter, such as focusing on our students" explains Teresa Hernandez, a 6th grade teacher.

The improved terms of the contract include an increase of insurance benfits and better pay for hours worked outside of school hours.

"Everyone in the state knows teachers are working harder than ever before especially in a district like Toppenish where there are very dedicated teachers," says Coco Mayo-Shjerven, the lead negotiator for the union.

Staff of the school board have been saying the new contract will make the district one of the highes paying in the state.  Teacher union leaders say their new contract is comparable to other districts.