Paraeducators in Highline Public Schools are getting a significant pay raise, starting with their September paychecks, the district announced.
The Highline School Board approved the increase at their board meeting on Wednesday night, Sept. 20, 2023.
Highline paraeducators will now earn a minimum of $25 an hour. The district offered the mid-contract salary increase to help recruit and retain paraeducators, a group that includes office staff, classroom instructional assistants, playground monitors and other support staff.
“Paraeducators are critical to student learning and safety. We cannot run schools without them,” said Superintendent Ivan Duran. “Our school board agreed it is important to invest in these valued employees.”
The district will invest $1.35 million to fund the pay bump, above the state-funded cost-of-living increase employees will receive. The new pay rate puts Highline paraeducator pay above those in Bellevue, Puyallup, Federal Way and Auburn.
“This provides substantial increases for all members and especially for those members who need it most at the lower end of the pay scale,” said Chad Baker, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 763, which represents Highline paraeducators.
In a recent workforce turnover analysis, paraeducators said pay was the number one reason for leaving district employment.
“We heard that loud and clear,” said Highline Chief Talent Officer Steve Grubb. “We wanted to act on that feedback even before the labor contract for this group expired.”
The increase is retroactive to September 1. An additional increase is slated for next year.