kea voting room

8-30-19 UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - 99.46% of Kennewick teachers voted yes to a new contract just before 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30th.

KEA members gathered at South Hills Church to vote on ratification after a tentative agreement was reached between the union and the district Thursday evening.

KEA says a few highlights of the new contract include the ability for teachers to better care for their own children and families, new agreements regarding student and staff safety, the reduction of class size in some dual language classes, and competitive salaries.

“We are so proud of our tireless KEA Bargaining Team members for their efforts and of our members for their courage to do what was right to ensure high quality teachers for the students in our community,” KEA President Rob Woodford says. “We were touched and bolstered by the unwavering support of our community. This has been a long and difficult road, but we are relieved we have an agreement.”

School will now begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3rd.

8-29-19 UPDATE: 

KENNEWICK, WA - The Kennewick Education Association and the Kennewick School District announced Thursday evening that they have reached a Tentative Agreement.

The KSD's announcement says KEA members will hold a general membership meeting to vote on ratification tomorrow, August 30, at 10:00 a.m. There will be no school on Friday, August 30 pending the results of the ratification vote.

The announcement says details on the specific terms of the contract will be available following that meeting, should the members of the KEA vote to ratify the contract.

If the contract is ratified, school will begin on Tuesday, September 3.

KSD and KEA back and forth

8-29-19 UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - The Kennewick Education Association announced in a statement at 3 p.m. Thursday that they have filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) with the Washington State Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) this afternoon against the Kennewick School District.

THURSDAY - 12:15 PM: The Kennewick School District said in a statement that the KEA rejected the same pay as Pasco in years 1-15 and Richland in years 16-18, and that the association demands that teachers make more... saying the KEA sent a demand that KSD teachers get on average an additional .55% of pay beyond what Pasco and Richland teachers are paid in those years, which KSD says would cost the district $537,853 more. The KSD rejected this proposal.

2:14 PM: The KEA announced in a Facebook post that the KSD has filed for an injunction, which they say means the KSD is asking a judge to force teachers back to school. KEA also says the district chose to do this without having a School Board Meeting, and says the district has been engaging in intimidating behavior toward KEA members.

3:00 PM: The KEA announced that they filed an Unfair Labor Practice:

"In the ULP are four counts of bad faith bargaining – including regressive bargaining and an illegal proposal exceeding the statutory maximum in salary. KEA also filed a count of unlawful surveillance due to the District’s cracking into the computer of KEA’s head negotiator despite an agreement that members have access to computers for association business -- and another count saying the Kennewick School District’s bargaining team members have not been given proper authority to bargain, which is required by law.

The ULP will be reviewed by PERC who will look at all the allegations then issue a preliminary determination which could happen as early as tomorrow or sometime next week."

Most parents are rallying in support of the teachers, with many on the picket lines Thursday morning. 

"We just want to show support for our teachers; we're here for them, we see some negativity," says Allisha Craig, a local parent. "It's really hard, this is a hard job."

Many other parents chimed in on the NBC Right Now Tri-Cities Facebook page. Some parents say while they wish their kids were at school, they still support what the teachers are doing. Others say even though they support the teachers, they wish it didn't affect their kids and their education.

On the other side, some say they don't believe people in public positions should be allowed to walk out of their job.


8-28-19 6:22 PM UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - The Kennewick School District announced Wednesday morning that they offered the Kennewick Education Association a new offer of a 7.5% increase in pay. That offer is more than the 7.25% offer that was made last week.

According to the school district, that latest offer would pay 300 of 1,200 teachers over $100,000 and another 200 teachers over $90,000. The district also said that the KEA left bargaining discussions around 7 p.m. without responding to that offer.

Many teachers NBC Right Now spoke to said that the statement about leaving the bargaining table is untrue. They say they were told by the mediators to go home get some rest.  

Another announcement KSD sent out was that they are confident both sides have agreed to new safety agreements. Those new agreements include training and compensation for building-based student behavior committee members, clarity in staff protection communication in response to threats and a task force to study special education programs including a six tier behavior intervention program.

NBC Right Now asked the KEA about those safety agreements and whether that part of deal had been resolved and they said they preferred to keep the bargaining at the table.                      

8-26-19 UPDATE:

KENNEWICK, WA - Members of the Kennewick Education Association have determined to strike on Tuesday, August 27th, after failed negotiations with the Kennewick School District. KSD said that because of this, school is cancelled until further notice.

The school closure affects 19,000 students and about 13,000 families.

KSD said in a statement Monday evening: "The last offer presented to KEA would increase teacher salaries by 7.25% and would pay teachers comparable to Pasco and other neighbor districts. The KEA has not accepted this proposal as of 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26."

KSD provided the following information for parents in their Monday statement: 

"Child Care: The YMCA will offer on-site childcare from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Amon Creek, Cottonwood, Canyon View, Ridge View, and Lincoln elementary schools. All children must be pre-registered in the YMCA childcare program to participate.

"Athletics: School-based athletic practices and events will continue to be held at their regularly scheduled times, as coaching contracts are separate from the KEA contract. 

"Updates: We will continue to keep you informed about this situation via email, on our website at and on our social media sites."


Both the district and the teachers have been trying to negotiate a new three-year contract since May. As Monday's deadline for a decision got closer, KEA members said a strike may be something they have to do. 


"Well none of us want a strike, we really just want what's best for the kids; we want to be in our classrooms but we need to come to an agreement with our district so that we can provide and attract the best teachers and keep them," said Bailey Styles, a third grade teacher.

kea members

Monday morning, Aug. 26, the Kennewick School District announced the Kennewick Education Association bargaining team rejected their offer of a 7.1% increase for the 2019-2020 school year and a 3% increase the year after.

According to KEA President Rob Woodford, that offer is not what his side is looking for.

"They have finally gotten the district to move a little bit but it's still not where it needs to be, it's not equitable... we are not equitable with right now with Pasco, we are not equitable with Richland," Woodford said. "We need to get there and the Kennewick school district has to understand that."

The Kennewick Education Association says, "the District made a slightly increased offer but added more stipulations that would cut teacher compensation, including a decrease in pay for teachers who cover classes during their planning periods."

kea bargain negotiations

In the same statement released Friday, the district said, "We love our KSD teachers and we also must balance our budget and be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. Any salary increases we provide must be able to be sustained over time without negatively impacting students and damaging the long-term financial health of the district." 

The KEA president, Rob Woodford, said that while negotiations have been going on they have been losing teachers to the other districts. 

"We've already lost people to the other two districts and we'll lose more because if you add five minutes to your commute and you could make upwards of two thousand, three thousand, even as high as six thousand more dollars to cross the river... you might cross the river," Woodford said.

In a statement released by the district on Friday: 

"We love our KSD teachers and we also must balance our budget and be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. Any salary increases we provide must be able to be sustained over time without negatively impacting students and damaging the long-term financial health of the district."

The Kennewick School District said in a statement:

"With the increases already built into the Kennewick teacher salary schedule for experience and educational attainment, the average teacher would have seen a 7.5% to 9% salary increase for the 2019-20 school year under the district’s proposal.

"The latest district offer pays over 200 teachers with 19 years of experience and a master’s degree plus 90 credits a salary of $101,924 for the 187-day work year, or $545 per day. Under the same proposal, another 240 teachers would have earned a salary in excess of $90,000. In addition, the top salary would be earned by teachers at Year 19 instead of Year 25 as in the past.

"The average teacher salary would have increased to $78,856 under the District’s proposal.

"This proposed salary increase comes on top of the 2018-19 school year when Kennewick teachers saw an average salary increase of 12.13% from 2017-18. The offer the KEA rejected represents nearly a 20% salary increase for teachers over two years."

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