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How the Complex History of Teacher Pay in Washington Slows Down Education Funding Solutions

To understand the landmark McCleary school-funding case, and a big reason why state lawmakers are struggling to reach a final settlement, you have to understand something called TRI pay.

TRI, which stands for additional time, responsibility and incentive, is a big chunk of local money originally intended to pay teachers for extras like serving as a high-school department chair or staying after school to tutor struggling students.

Over the years, however, TRI has grown into a way to boost pay for teachers — fueled by districts wanting to offer more attractive salaries, and by the state which gave districts that power, and avoided having to fund teacher raises out of its own coffers.