PENDLETON — The Pendleton School Board adopted a new, $49.9 million budget Monday and then agreed to give many of their staff members raises over the next three years.

Some of the most significant raises came through a new collective bargaining agreement with the Pendleton teachers’ union.

The Pendleton Association of Teachers pay scale will receive a 3.5% raise in 2019-20 and 2020-21 and a 2% raise in 2021-22.

The longevity stipend — an annual payment that activates in a teacher’s 10th year with the district and increases every five years until year 30 — and a longevity bonus — a one-time bonus that teachers get for reaching the 14th, 15th, or 16th step of the pay scale — follow the same pattern through the three-year contract.

Teachers will also see the district’s insurance premium contribution rise from $1,650 per month to $1,749 per month in 2020-21.

The new collective bargaining agreement continues to solidify Pendleton’s educators as some of the best compensated in the region.

An analysis done by The Oregonian in 2015 showed that Pendleton had the highest average salary of any district in Eastern Oregon, and even surpassed school districts in Salem, Bend, and Eugene, although school systems across the state have approved at least one new collective bargaining agreement since then.

Beyond compensation, teachers also won some benefits.

The district agreed to create and convene a committee that will look at ways to increase elementary teachers’ prep time from 150 minutes per week, with the goal of developing viable options for implementation by the end of the contract in June 2022.

Teachers will also see their yearly tuition reimbursement cap upped from $30,000 per year to $40,000 annually.

Teachers weren’t the only type of district employee to receive a raise on Monday.

Administrative staff — a group that includes principals, assistant principals, and some central office administrators — got the same raise as teachers.

Confidential employees — non-administrative staff who work in the central office — also got the same raise as the teachers’ union.

The director of business services and the facilities manager will make $122,164 and $82,751, respectively, in 2019-20. Each position will receive between a 2% and 5% raise in 2020-21 and 2021-22, depending on the consumer price index.

After meeting behind closed doors to discuss his evaluation, the Pendleton School Board agreed to raise Superintendent Chris Fritsch’s salary from $138,346 to $141,113.

Before approving a succession of new contracts for staff members, the board approved the $49.9 million budget that will help pay for them.

Although district officials have referred to the 2019-20 budget as “status quo,” it will make room for two new dean of students positions.

The “teachers on special assignment” positions will help out with some administrative duties at Washington and Sherwood Heights elementary schools.

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