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Teachers Talk Salaries Ahead Of Bargaining Session

The Richland Education Association makes its voice heard during the school board meeting Tuesday night.

RICHLAND, Wash.-- Leaders from the Richland Education Association say they're ready to talk salaries.

The contract for Richland teachers is up and they begin bargaining with the school district in less than two weeks.

Staff went to the board meeting Tuesday to make sure their voices are being heard.

REA President Elect Ken Hays says, "Salary is the main issue right now."

It’s a story that's been over 10 years in the making.

Starting when the state was sued for not fully funding school districts.

The McCleary decision was handed down four years ago but it’s only until now that staff will start to see changes, with the state giving over 2 billion dollars to public education.

Over a billion of that is earmarked for educator salaries.

However, in with the new money, out with the old system. Teachers across the state will have to negotiate what they’re paid.

REA President Elect Ken Hays says, "The way we've been funded and the way we've been paid, for the past 30 years, disappears as of September 1st, so we along with every district in the state have to renegotiate salaries."

REA President Elect Ken Hays says, "It's a change that needs to come and we hope it will benefit our young teachers the most."

He says there are districts across Washington that have already settled, and many are getting 15% raises for their educators.

Organizers of the rally tonight say they're not angry, but anxious to see what changes lie ahead.

REA President LaDonna Sterling says, "We're just asking for recognition, that is what the McCleary decision means and this is what we expect."

The board president told everyone who showed up tonight "what you do is amazing its priceless so well work toward the priceless level with the money from the legislature and see what we get."

Richland Education Association leaders say the goal is to have a contract to sign by August 31st.

The bargaining session begins June 22nd.

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