Kent teachers ratify new contract with district; school starts today

KENT, Wash. -- Kent teachers on Wednesday night ratified a proposed contract agreement with the district, avoiding a strike one day before classes were to start Thursday.

The Kent Education Association announced Wednesday morning that a tentative contract agreement had been reached. Hours later, over 1,100 educators showed up to ratify the proposed pact, with 69% approval, the teachers' union said.

No specifics on the agreement were immediately given, but the deal likely includes significant pay raises for educators.

Kent teachers had voted to strike if no deal was reached before the first day of school.


Kent isn't the only districting still in negotiations with teachers. Districts and unions across the state are negotiating new pay scales due to new school funding legislation. The Legislature this year added nearly another $1 billion for teacher salaries.

Teachers in Seattle voted Tuesday to authorize a strike unless an agreement is reached with the state's largest district by the time school resumes Sept. 5.

School was also canceled Tuesday for about 27,000 students in Evergreen Public Schools and 3,200 students in the Washougal School District.

Classes won't start as scheduled Wednesday for 6,500 students in Longview Public Schools as teachers hit the picket lines.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.