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Levy cuts could prevent Naches Valley teachers from getting more pay

Levy cuts could prevent Naches Valley teachers from getting more pay

NACHES, Wash. -- Naches teachers are among the many throughout the valley fighting for more money but the district says their situation is a little different due to a loss in levy funds, they say almost $2 million.

They said if they give teachers a higher salary they will have to make cuts elsewhere like with jobs or school programs for kids.

Naches Valley teachers said they've meet with the school district 5 times this summer to negotiate a higher salary.

The district received an almost 16 percent increase in funds from the state that could potentially be used for salaries, but the teachers said they are only being offered a little over three percent.

Naches Valley School District Superintendent Duane Lyons said they just don't have the funds due to loss in levy money and he said cuts have to be made to stay on budget.

"It's that kind of trade off that's so tough because do you have some teachers that will make a little bit more money which means that they'll be more competitive, closer to what other folks in districts around us are making," Lyons said. "Then have less teachers or less programs for kids."

The district passed a levy in 2016 that allowed them to make about $3 million from tax payers. However, earlier this year legislation cut that amount to $1.3 and Lyons said it hurts Naches Valley even more because they are a smaller district that relied heavily on levy funding.

Brian Herting is a Naches Valley High School teacher and on the bargaining team, he said right now he feels like teachers are the only ones feeling the cuts.

"We're having to make a whole bunch of cuts in our district because of the loss of levy dollars and we feel like from what they've offered us that teachers are taking the brunt of that," Herting said. "There's not many other cuts that we see that are significant."

Erik Hansen is a kindergarten teacher in Naches and said he knows the district is being hit financially but thinks teachers in the district deserve fair pay.

"You see both ends but then again you see how hard we work out here, what we do for these kids," Hansen said. "In the parking lot you see their cars at 8 p.m. at night and what we do after hours and behind the scenes."

Teachers in Toppenish reached a salary increase with their district earlier this week and Naches teachers said that gives them hope that they can do the same.

RELATED: Toppenish teachers get higher pay they wanted

The Naches Valley District bargaining team said the district was supposed to make another offer Thursday but after discussion, decided to revise their offer and will present it on August 22.

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