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Q: The newspaper reported that Woodland teachers got a 24% pay raise following the McCleary funding changes. That seems outrageous! Is it accurate?

No, it is NOT accurate.

For many years, the state has significantly underfunded education across the state of Washington. The state funding for teacher salaries was as a proportion of state GDP in the lower tier of all US States. In order to attract high-quality teachers, administrators, and staff in a competitive market for employees, school districts used local funds to make up the gap between what the state funded and market salaries. State law required that these additional salary dollars be paid on a “supplementary contract” for additional time, responsibility, or incentive.

The legislature “swapped” some of our local levy capacity, collecting taxes formerly paid for by school levies, and redistributed those dollars to the local school districts and required school districts to substantially increase base teacher pay (as opposed to the former “supplementary contract” enhancements). As a result of this the “base contract” increased substantially, about 24%, but the supplementary contract decreased

In order to remain competitive in the job market with school districts immediately to the south of us who have 6%-12% more salary funding, we have used local funding to continue a much smaller supplementary contract, allowing us six additional days to train and work with staff. In the end, the average salary increase (after several years of comparatively stagnant wages) was about 12%. Woodland’s teachers and other staff are now paid competitive wages, about in the mid-range of other school districts in Southwest Washington.