Washington High School: Home of the Blue Jays

For the second straight year, all Washington School District teachers and staff will receive raises.

The school board Wednesday night approved an average 2.9 percent raise for district employees for 2018-19. The raise will impact both certified teachers and support staff.

The raise will boost the district’s starting salary for teachers by $300, something Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brendan Mahon said is within budgetary goals and helps keep Washington competitive with other area districts.

Mahon noted that school officials do plan to come back and further discuss the salary schedule in July, after the district’s assessed valuation is known. Then, the district could decide to further increase the boost. 

“I think what we’re all in agreement about is that . . . we’re comfortable with giving $300 at this point,” he said, “but we did agree that we would reconvene in July.”

With the $300 base bump, the Washington School District will have the highest starting salary in the county, surpassing Sullivan and Union.

For Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer, it’s important that the district stays competitive. She said she’s glad the district is in good enough health to continue to offer raises.

“I’m happy with our ability to continue to enhance our schedules,” VanLeer said. “It’s really important to take care of our folks. It’s important to us to stay competitive.”

The superintendent added that with competitive pay the quality of educators that come to Washington will increase and the district’s students will see the benefit.

All salary schedules, including support staff, will see pay increases, Mahon said. The amount will vary depending on where individuals fall on the schedule.

Under the approved schedule, the lowest step will pay teachers $36,800.

School Board Vice President John Freitag said he’s happy to see the raise because it will bring talent to Washington. He said all parties win with the boost.

“In the end, our desire is to attract and retain the best possible staff available at the school district of Washington,” he said. “This is one of the best outcomes for the staff and more importantly, a good outcome for the students of the district. Working through these salary and benefit negotiations is never an easy job.”

The athletic and activity sponsor pay structures also were reviewed and approved along with salary increases. The enhancement to those pay structures will cost roughly $7,000.

The Washington School Board will next meet Wednesday, June 27.