Editorial In June 12 Kent Reporter

“KEA: Better education comes through better priorities in Kent”

By KEA Vice President Connie Compton and KEA Secretary Cindy Prescott

In tough economic times, how can Kent educators be concerned about the district’s spending?  Because your children won’t get a second chance at their education when the economy improves. Our community wants a great education for our children – in good times and in bad. Kent Education Association members are professional educators dedicated to quality education for every student.

Educators need time to prepare lessons, absorb training, apply skills learned, confer with colleagues, meet with parents, and complete paperwork. Most importantly, teachers need quality time to teach our students. Time matters.

Educators need a manageable workload. Students benefit from smaller classes. Some special education teachers instruct 40 students with unique needs.  Middle school teachers are asked to integrate laptops into daily lessons. High school teachers may have 35 or more students in a class. Psychologists, speech and language pathologists, and occupational and physical therapists travel to several buildings, with no limits on their caseloads. Some teach in a corner or a closet. Workload matters.

Students benefit when great teachers choose to come, and stay in Kent. Teachers in Kent work as hard as colleagues in neighboring districts and deserve equitable compensation. Kent is losing top veterans. They’re leaving to work in districts that pay as much as $10,000 more, and offer a greater degree of professionalism to their staffs. The children of Kent deserve better than the lowest paid teachers in the Puget Sound region. Compensation matters.

Can Kent afford this investment? The district’s own budget data says yes. Nearby districts prove more can be done. The district spends 67% of its budget on teaching and teaching support. Neighboring districts spend up to 73%. Lake Washington employs a teacher for every 16 students; Kent has only one teacher for every 19 students.  Kent has more administrators per teacher than it has teachers per student. The district expects to end the year with nearly $20 million in the bank, which exceeds the 5% reserve policy. Taxpayers in Kent deserve to see their investment spent on Kent students.

The Kent Education Association believes it is time for the Kent School District to make children its number one priority. Improving the time, workload and compensation for educators in Kent will improve education for children. The children of Kent are as valuable as children in districts around Puget Sound. Our community deserves to see its money spent where it belongs: in the classroom. 

In tough economic times, how can Kent educators be concerned about the district’s spending? Because your children won’t get a second chance at their education when the economy improves. Our community wants a great education for our children – in good times and in bad. Kent Education Association members are professional educators dedicated to quality education for every student.

Educators need time to prepare lessons, absorb training, apply skills learned, confer with colleagues, meet with parents, and complete paperwork. Most importantly, teachers need quality time to teach our students. Time matters.

Educators need a manageable workload. Students benefit from smaller classes. Some special education teachers instruct 40 students with unique needs.  Middle school teachers are asked to integrate laptops into daily lessons. High school teachers may have 35 or more students in a class. Psychologists, speech and language pathologists, and occupational and physical therapists travel to several buildings, with no limits on their caseloads. Some teach in a corner or a closet. Workload matters.

Students benefit when great teachers choose to come, and stay in Kent. Teachers in Kent work as hard as colleagues in neighboring districts and deserve equitable compensation. Kent is losing top veterans. They’re leaving to work in districts that pay as much as $10,000 more, and offer a greater degree of professionalism to their staffs. The children of Kent deserve better than the lowest paid teachers in the Puget Sound region. Compensation matters.

Can Kent afford this investment? The district’s own budget data says yes. Nearby districts prove more can be done. The district spends 67% of its budget on teaching and teaching support. Neighboring districts spend up to 73%. Lake Washington employs a teacher for every 16 students; Kent has only one teacher for every 19 students.  Kent has more administrators per teacher than it has teachers per student. The district expects to end the year with nearly $20 million in the bank, which exceeds the 5% reserve policy. Taxpayers in Kent deserve to see their investment spent on Kent students.

The Kent Education Association believes it is time for the Kent School District to make children its number one priority. Improving the time, workload and compensation for educators in Kent will improve education for children. The children of Kent are as valuable as children in districts around Puget Sound. Our community deserves to see its money spent where it belongs: in the classroom.

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6 Responses to “Editorial In June 12 Kent Reporter”

  1. Veteran Says:

    Yes, it is time!

    Thank you KEA and all supporters of teachers in Kent. Without the KEA, teachers would be as vulnerable as the ones in Texas. However, I know KEA can be even stronger once their members come together and work towards a better and more fair contract.

    There were many years when our members were very silent. Those years of silence resulted in weak contract language. I apologize for not being more involved with the union years ago.

    You less experienced and younger teachers–beware!–don’t let this happen again! Support each other, stand together. Educate the nay-sayers!!

  2. CounterpointSue Says:

    Great job with the editorial, ladies. I particularly appreciate the way in which you laid out our three main points in clear, easy to understand language that non-teachers will understand. Perhaps this will help balance the completely out-of-balance reporting that is being printed in the Kent area papers. Does that reporter have a thing for our outgoing superintendent or what?

  3. emma Says:

    I teach first grade in Kent and I have a doctorate’s degree. My husband teaches 4th grade in Auburn and he has a Master’s degree. We are on the same place on the salary schedule. He makes nearly $8,000 more than I do.

    Time. Workload. Compensation. The Auburn Education Association last week ratified changes to new Negotiated Agreement that addressed these three issues.

    Time.

    • As in the previous two years, ASD will apply to the State for five (5) Waiver Days for each of the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.
    • On Waiver Days, Employees can choose to work individually of collaboratively. These are TEACHER DIRECTED DAYS. The only requirement is that all activities on these days relate directly to goals on the School SIP Plan.

    Workload.

    • Special Education Teachers will now receive a $2,500 stipend in recognition of duties related to IEPs, including meetings.
    • IEP overload is now 26. For any students past number 26 the teacher will be paid at 1.5 times per diem.
    • Special Education Teachers receive four (4) “work relief” days to write IEPs.

    Compensation.

    • 2009-2010: No loss of compensation for members. LID compensation converted locally to an additional seven (7) hours on responsibility contract)
    • 2010-2011: Additional two (2) days on responsibility contract (contingent on Ending Fund Balance > 4.5%)
    • For the next two years, no AEA Member will make less compensation than they did in 2008-2009.

    KSD.

    If ASD can do it, why can’t we??

    It is TIME we do something.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for a great General Membership meeting. The kiss-ups who were present, got to see what a minority they truly are. We are KEA members, getting stronger, realizing our strength to organize and support our students.

  5. Kent Resident Says:

    Emma,

    That’s some powerful stuff. If you haven’t posted it in the comments section on the Kent Reporter website, please do so. It would be great for other residents to know this. Maybe I should be living in Auburn?

    • emma Says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I just posted it on the Kent Reporter website. Feel free to pass it on!

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