The Kent Education Association brought a pro-education agenda to the bargaining table on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 as negotiations begin with the District for a new contract. “The Kent Education Association supports a quality education for every student,” said KEA President Lisa Brackin-Johnson. “We have interviewed hundreds of local teachers over the past three years, and our bargaining position is based directly on what they have told us will help them to be most effective in the classroom. Based on this input, KEA will be seeking improvements in three areas.”
Students deserve teachers who are prepared for classes, and who have adequate time to incorporate changing technologies and methods in their teaching. The first area in KEA’s proposal therefore is to allow professional educators to better control their time so that they can best use their expertise to help students learn.
Students deserve more than a minute and a half of their teacher’s attention. That is all some of them now get on average in many of the District’s over-crowded classrooms. The second area of KEA’s proposal pertains to limiting class size and case load so that educators will be able to meet the needs of each child.
Usually aspiring to just be average isn’t good, but in Kent it would be a big step forward. The Kent School District provides the lowest teacher salaries in the Puget Sound area. The third area in which the Kent teachers want to see improvement is in compensation. KEA believes that in order to be able to attract and retain quality educators, salaries must be brought up to at least the middle of the pack. “It is fortunate that the Kent School District has a substantial fund balance,” said Brackin-Johnson. “We believe that they must adjust their spending priorities and begin to make an adequate investment in teaching and instruction in the classroom.”
The current contract between KEA and the District was negotiated in 2006 and will expire on August 31, 2009. The Association has invited the district to bargain on a weekly basis until an agreement is reached on a successor contract. The district has agreed to meet again on April 28th, but no additional dates have been set.