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Federal Way schools settle contracts

While contract negotiations ended up in court for neighboring school district Kent, the opposite rings true for the Federal Way School District.

Contract negotiations were settled last week, and the school board approved the contracts during Tuesday's board meeting.

"These are incredibly fiscally responsibly contracts for the district," board president Suzanne Smith said. "It definitely gives our district stability."

The Federal Way Education Association teachers, educational support personnel chapter and the athletic coaches all reached five-year contracts with the district, which is more than some of the board members had even hoped for. Commonly, contracts are for three years.

The Early Childhood Education Assistance personnel reached a three-year agreement.

"I would like to acknowledge the teachers," board member Tony Moore said. "They really worked with our team. Five years was more than I expected."

"I am so proud to be here in this district," board member Amye Bronson-Doherty said. "(The union and district representatives) bargained with reason and focus and purpose. I am glad to be here and vote on this tonight."

Superintendent Tom Murphy also congratulated the board for giving them good parameters for the negotiations.

The contracts were not vastly different than those in the past, spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

"The negotiations were very open and straight forward," Turner said. "It was all working to benefit the kids."

There were some changes, including an increase in the district's contribution for health care. The district also added a non-student day back in the calendar that the state took away this year.

Compensation increases were set for no increases in the first year. Additional increases for the second to fifth year would be similar to increases in surrounding districts including Tacoma, Renton and Puyallup.

There were no talks about class sizes, an issue that has caused a strike in the Kent school district. Class sizes are already set.

Talks on the contracts began in June.

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