School for Vancouver Public Schools’ nearly 24,000 students will start Wednesday, Sept. 5, after being delayed by a teachers’ union work stoppage.

The start of school follows a vote by district teachers, counselors and other education professionals to ratify a new contract this morning at Skyview High School. Vancouver Education Association reports that the vote by 1,517 members was 92.4 percent in favor of the contract.

“This contract with VEA achieves the district’s goal of providing fair and competitive compensation for our professional educators,” said Superintendent Steve Webb. “In the second and third years of the contract, however, we anticipate the need for significant belt-tightening measures as our ability to generate local levy revenue is reduced and capped as a result of the legislature’s response to the McCleary court mandate.

“VPS will continue to advocate for legislative changes to E2SSB 6362 to ensure more equitable funding for southwest Washington students,” said Webb.

The new contract with VEA includes 31 early release days for the school year. All schools are scheduled to release 40 minutes early on Mondays unless the days fall on holidays or during school breaks. The first early-release day will be Sept. 10.

The increased number of early release days provides more time for VPS teachers to engage in professional learning and collaboration to improve student achievement results.

“We are delighted that our students will be back in school tomorrow,” said Webb. “We all share a common goal to give our students the best education possible.”

Make-up days for the work stoppage are forthcoming.