Camas, WA— Members of Camas Education Association (CEA) voted Thursday to ratify a new two-year deal, ending a strike that lasted seven days that is causing a rippling effect in the school calendar.
Teachers went back to the classroom Friday.
Camas School District (CSD) negotiated with the CEA that class sizes will be reduced over the next two years to between 21-24 students for elementary students, and secondary school sizes are supposed to shift to having a baseline and maximum sizes for each class.
The new deal also sought equity in PE, music and arts funding across CSD schools, and the agreement “establishes a resource fund that is distributed on a per-student basis” that goes up to $140,000 during the 2025-26 school year.
A teacher raise was also agreed upon. In this school year, their pay will increase by 6.4 percent and another 6.6 percent in the 2024-25 school year. Union officials wanted 8.9 percent, and the District said publicly that 5.7 percent was their final and best offer.
“Quick Summary: Two year contract with salary increase spread out over those two years,” said Shelley Lee, a Camas teacher, and former CEA President. “Phased in classroom reductions over next two years. Letter of agreement for three years for earmarked money for PE, health, library, and music. Lots more to the overall CBA but those were the three sticking points at the end. Overall I think CEA feels like this contract is fair and moves us forward. It’s time now to work together to pass the next levy which will continue to benefit our students.”
The debate ended, but lingering hurt feelings may there a while.
“We’re tired,” said Mark Gardner, a Camas teacher. “This never should have happened, and we should have started negotiating with the District in March, not May.”
During the process, the school board voted to authorize legal action against the teachers if the strike lingered. And, it was the end of a very challenging first year for Camas Superintendent John Anzalone, who also oversaw budget cuts in the Spring.
“This contract reflects our shared dedication to providing the best possible educational experience for our students,” Anzalone said in a statement after the deal was ratified. “Our teachers are not just educators; they are mentors, role models, and often, beacons of stability for our students. Their love for teaching and their unwavering dedication to their students are the very qualities that excite me for our students’ futures and the future of our district.”