Important clarification: 7-day pay cut is NOT off the table. Here’s why.

At our Rep. Council meeting Wednesday, several KEA Building Reps remarked on the mistaken belief among some members that the district has dropped its plan to cut seven days pay. I realized we were not clear enough in emphasizing that the district’s proposal to restore seven Effective Education days is conditioned on KEA members agreeing with the district’s other proposals, particularly the plan to tie our evaluations to students’ test scores.

As noted in our June 3 bargaining update, the district’s offer is a package deal. It’s unacceptable: Just to get back our current pay next year, we’d have to agree to numerous other conditions. If we don’t, the district’s offer reverts to the earlier seven-day takeaway. A bold-face header tops each page of the district’s 31-page contract proposal to make that clear: The “June 2, 2009 KSD Package Proposal … is offered as a package proposal …” and part of the package is personnel evaluations based on the WASL-driven school improvement goals.

Confusion may stem from a separate letter drafted by district leaders. It’s disappointing that the district was not entirely truthful in communicating with Kent educators. Their letter omitted mentioning their own demand at the bargaining table that the seven-day pay restoration is preconditioned on using WASL scores for our evaluations.

So here’s the bottom line:

  • KEA members have made it clear to our bargaining team that student WASL scores are not a reliable measure of teacher quality and should not be used to determine our evaluations.
  • Because our members will not accept the district’s ill-conceived evaluation scheme, the district has not agreed to deliver the other half of the package to withdraw the pay cut. That means the district position reverts to its earlier plan to cut salaries by seven days next year — a $2,500 takeaway for some teachers.
  • If KEA members accept the district’s flawed package, we could actually put an eighth day of pay at risk: The Kent School Board already has ratified a 182-day calendar next year — including an August LID day cut by the state — but district bargainers now mistakenly suggest that day is available to be renegotiated.
  • Supt. Grohe is still talking about layoffs, but using pay for Effective Education days as a tool to link evaluations to WASL scores shows that Kent’s financial position is stronger than she suggests. Indeed, the district now concedes it will end the year with nearly $20 million in the bank, just as WEA’s budget analyst predicted last winter.
  • Cutting our pay is not required because of tough economic times: The district’s package deal makes it clear our pay could be restored with a stroke of Grohe’s pen. Instead, it’s a deliberate strategy to exploit the current economic hard times to force concessions in our evaluation policy — and to freeze Kent’s already dismally low wages as the economy recovers, with no solution for our workload and class-size concerns.

The KEA Bargaining Team will continue to reject the district’s takeaways. The team’s strength is based on our continuing unity and support.

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5 Responses to “Important clarification: 7-day pay cut is NOT off the table. Here’s why.”

  1. REALISTIC Says:

    Kent School District=Disrespectful, Punitive, Petty

  2. LenDawson Says:

    Cutting the effective ed in no way is ever acceptable. It wouldn’t matter if we were one of the highest paid districts – that money gets MORE than earned by the teachers for all the work we do beyond the school day. Even suggesting to take it away is absolutely offensive and disrespectful. The district is horrible for even suggesting it. If they want teachers who only care from opening bell to ending bell, then they want a horrible school district.

  3. Teacher Says:

    I agree with Len Dawson. To even broach such a proposal would have to take a pretty cold heart.

    Honestly, I am sick and tired of the few, who make comments against our efforts. Those few must remember that they benefit as well, when we get a strong contract. What could possibly be their motivation for throwing a wedge within their own members? Kissing up?

  4. confused Says:

    I don’t understand what it means to link teacher evaluations to WASL scores when we aren’t even going to give the WASL anymore. Does the district want to link our evaluations to the results of a test we’ve never even seen? What about teachers who teach grade levels or subjects that aren’t tested by the state? More info, please.

  5. confused Says:

    And what does “linked” mean? In what way do they propose our evaluations should be linked to SIP and WASL scores?

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