Archive for April, 2009

KEA Makes Pro-Education Bargaining Proposal

April 30, 2009

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.

RIF Frequently Asked Questions

April 30, 2009

RIF Frequently Asked Questions

Click the link above to see answers to the most common questions about RIF’s.

KEA’s Commitment To You On RIF’s

April 30, 2009

The KEA’s Commitment to You

1.  Help you understand your rights under the contract and law

2.  Inform you of District layoff-related decisions as we learn of these

3.  Help to distinguish fact from fiction related to layoffs

4.  Share what we know about layoff-related rumors

5.  File grievances on behalf of members to challenge layoffs where viable

6.  Raise public awareness of the negative impact certificated layoffs will have on students

7.  Scrutinize the District’s finances and decisions as these affect layoffs

8.  Help you understand your individual jeopardy—your risk of being laid off

9.  Help you understand your options  

10. Fight to retain and recall every certificated employee

KSD Brings Its Proposals To The Table, And They Ain’t Pretty

April 29, 2009

On Tuesday, April 28th, 2009, the KEA and KSD Bargaining Teams met at Meridian Elementary for the second bargaining session this year.  The Kent School District proposed the following changes to the current contract:

  1. KSD wants to eliminate the Effective Education days that Kent teachers earn for the work they do beyond their 7.5 hour workday, such as planning lessons, assessing student work, and helping their students to succeed.  This would mean a pay cut of 3.89% of base salary.
  2. KSD wants to eliminate one of the two Learning Improvement Days (LID) that are used for professional development prior to the first day of school.  This would overturn the 2009-10 Calendar that KEA members have already voted for.  This would mean a pay cut for teachers equal to 0.55% of base salary.
  3. KSD intimated that additional cuts to KEA members’ wages and benefits may also be presented.  If so, then in total, the District will be proposing pay cuts totaling 7.22% of base salary, which, when including losses to  inflation that the District refuses to pay for with a cost of living adjustment, means a 11.5% pay cut.
  4.   KSD also wants to eliminate the right of KEAand its members to choose the insurance and benefits that will best fit the needs of our members and their families.
  5. KSD proposed that teachers be evaluated based upon the building School Improvement Plans (SIP), which means that teachers could be evaluated based upon their students’ WASL scores.  This is despite the extensive evaluation criteria in the current contract.
  6. KSD proposed that they be given the right to involuntarily transfer any employee within the District for any reason. 
  7. KSD additionally wants to have no limit to the number of subcontracted employees it hires. These employees would be hired to fill positions that normally would be filled by KEA members.  KEA has already won an arbitration against the District on this very issue.
  8. KSD wants to penalize Special Education teachers who do not complete Individualized Education Plans before a deadline by taking away their stipends.
  9. KSD even proposed that Administrators who are RIF’d (laid off) be able to bump current KEA teachers with low seniority and take their positions!
  10. KSD wants to increase control over teacher workshop days and Late Arrival/Early Release Days.

KEA Responds to Grohe’s Budget Claims

April 28, 2009

KEA Responds to Grohe’s Budget Claims

Click the link above for a comparison between the fear of Dr. Grohe’s assertions and the facts of KEA’s analysis of the Kent School District’s budget.

KEA Teacher Letter to Local Newspapers

April 28, 2009

The following letter was sent recently to the Kent Reporter and other area newspapers:

 

3/18/09

Dear Editor,

As a teacher in the Kent School District I have been reading with interest the many articles that have recently run in the Kent and Covington Reporters about the Kent School District budget. I wanted to give you a few interesting points about the seemingly “fuzzy math” that I see in these articles.

In looking at the financial reports that come out monthly from the district and using the same figures that the school district sends to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), I see that in the past four years, the district’s actual ending fund balance has averaged well over five times the amount they budgeted to end with. For example, in 2006-07, they budgeted to end the year with $4,093,596 and actually ended the year with $23,010,066! And in 2007-08, they budgeted to end the year with $3,878,378 and actually ended the year with $18,291,096. Fuzzy math?

Additionally, I saw in the Covington Reporter recently that the Kent School District spends less than the state percent in Central Administration costs (State – 13.0% and Kent – 12.8%) Actually, that is correct. However it is not further stated that the Kent School District is actually second in a list of other school districts who have 20,000 or more students. Kent is in line right after Seattle, at 15%. We are second in line for central administration costs and fourth in size in the state. Even more interesting: Within these central administration costs is the fact that Kent School District spends $556 less per student in teaching and teaching support costs. Fuzzy math?

The Kent School District is only telling part of the story. The teachers in the district call on the Kent School District to tell the whole story. Transparency in reporting budget figures is something their employees and the community deserve.

Cindy Prescott

4th Grade Teacher and Kent Education Association Member

 

 

Kent Education Association Now On Facebook!

April 28, 2009

At our last Rep Council meeting, the new Kent Education Association page on Facebook was shared.  KEA  hopes that this will be a great place for KEA members to socialize and connect.

If you are interested in setting up an account on Facebook, it will not only allow you to stay connected with friends and family, but also with other members/friends of KEA. Building a community of people who support and believe in the same cause leads to solidarity as a result.

You can always select certain settings on your Facebook account to preserve your privacy so only certain people may see your page. Setting up an account is similar to setting up an email account (probably easier). This site does not cost any money.   Just head to www.facebook.com and it will walk you through the process.

Once you set up your account, or if you already have one, here are two groups you may join by typing the name(s) into the “Search” box on the tool bar of your FB account:

·         KENTEA (Must be all caps)

·         Mike McNett Fan Club

 

Thanks for reading this message!

Camille Yuasa

KEA Facebook Editor

Kent Reporter Describes KEA’s Views On KSD Budget

April 28, 2009

Here’s a recent article by the Kent Reporter newspaper about KEA’s response to the Kent School District’s buget claims.

http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/south_king/ken/news/41760832.html

 

 

Kent Teacher Responds to RIF’s

April 28, 2009

Teachers, thanks for all you do! My concern is that as school districts lay off those teachers with lowest seniority, the newest teachers, many will leave and find jobs outside education and never return. The overall result is an unrecoverable loss to public education in Washington. The legislators do not seem to understand how serious this loss is to our future. We do not attract enough young, new teachers as it is and this will only make it harder to get new folks to enter the profession. Please pass this concern on to everyone around the state. It is the real loss to our future. -Edward Duggan

KEA Will Fight For Your Job

April 22, 2009

The District may potentially face difficult financial circumstances—we all understand the seriousness of the economic decline—but cutting jobs hurts students, staff, and our community.  Must the District layoff staff?  As of this writing the District does not fully understand next year’s finances.  In addition to that the District also has access to a budget surplus that has gone well over $30 million at various points and has never dipped below $17 million during the last four years.  Once the financial picture is clear one question will remain: are there realistic alternatives to cutting certificated and other staff jobs?  The KEA will scrutinize the District’s finances, question District budget choices, grieve contractual violations of the layoff procedure or related provisions where viable, and will work to draw attention to the harm that will come from certificated staff layoffs.  If certificated employees are laid-off, the KEA will press the District to quickly recall these employees—and our scrutiny of the District’s finances will continue to ensure recalling staff is the District’s highest priority.