KSD Superintendent Grohe Deserves A Schrammie, Too

Kent School District Superintendent Barbara Grohe may be even worse than Schrammie winner Superintendent Tom Seigel.  (Check out the original story here.)

Under the direction of Dr. Grohe, the Kent School District has taken the following action:

  • Announced the layoff of 129 professional employees, only 5 of whom are administrators.
  • Proposed a cut of seven days’ pay for teachers, and threatened the loss of five more days of pay.  This is on top of the loss of one state-funded “Learning Improvement Day” and the loss of a cost-of-living increase.

At the same time, Dr. Grohe has been responsible for the following:

  • Over the past 4 years, the number of district administrators has grown by 15%, while the teaching staff has increased only 4%.
  • Class sizes, particularly in upper grades, often exceed 35 students per class.  With the loss of over 100 teachers, they will only get larger.
  • Kent teachers are already the lowest paid teaching staff in the entire Puget Sound region.
  • Completion of construction of a new elementary school to replace a current building, and is contemplating replacing a second building in the near future.
  • Maintained a General Fund balance that is currently at $21.2M, and has not dipped below $18M at any time in the past three years.  Dr. Grohe says that this balance helps maintain the district’s bond rating, and that some of the money has already been invested in frozen food.
  • The District installed an expensive “SmartBoard” in each classroom, including an LCD computer projector.  Over two years, they have installed 3,600 of these units.
  • The District purchased 12,000 computers this year, and 10,000 in the previous year.  They have given a laptop to every 7th grader in every middle school, often at the expense of teachers and 8th graders who had their computers taken away.

Buildings, computers, bond ratings, frozen fish sticks, and slush funds may be fine to some in good times, but not at the cost of over-crowding classes, narrowing the curriculum, and grossly underpaying those teachers that survive the layoff.  Kent teachers are left to wonder where Dr. Grohe’s priorities really lay?

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4 Responses to “KSD Superintendent Grohe Deserves A Schrammie, Too”

  1. teacher Says:

    Regarding the “Completion of construction of a new elementary school to replace a current building”–it is hard to read connotation on blogs, but sandwiched between other negative things, I hope people realize that building this new school is necessary and should be a high priority. The voters agreed to this building and I appreciate it.

  2. Jim Thomnpson Says:

    How odd for David Afred to feel threatened. Does he not make a good wage? Does he really think a teacher who received an 11% paycut would really be able to keep their house payments, or live in Kent, or be able to put anymore than the “minium” 7.5 hours in class because they had to hold down a second job to make ends meet?
    Dr. Grohe and the board should take a harder look at what they have done to the teachers in their district. We, as teachers, must build trust and a sense of community in our classrooms. We are trying to model trust and community as an important part of life. Dr. Grohe and the board have presented a clear message that trust and community that we have all been trying to live up and develop with the board means little to them. They are going to ask us to take pay cuts, personnel cuts, support cuts of all kinds when we know they have rainy day funds to slow down these measures. I thought we were all in this together. I guess my trust was misplaced.

  3. Elem. Teacher Says:

    No doubt a new building is wonderful for the staff and students and for the community. At what price do we say it’s okay though? What do you say to the teacher who is just starting their career and has been laid off, has bills to pay, and loans to pay off?

  4. teacher Says:

    I agree that we should not put buildings before jobs. However, just to clarify, this particular school is being built thanks to a levy that passed back when jobs were not threatened. The school being replaced is over 100 years old, stands in a very busy corner of many stores and traffic, is full of air quality problems that makes people/students very ill (esp. those with asthma and allergies to mold), is very open so that students get drenched on their way to specialists/ELL classes/bathrooms, etc etc. Obviously, if we were to put this school on the ballot today, I would be advocating saving jobs and pay before building a new school. Ironically, this new school is already too small and has to open with portables.

    I am not saying I approve everything on this Schrammie list, just trying to justify the importance of this new school. I also seem to remember the union asking us to help get people to vote for this levy to pass…

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