KSD Proposal Falls Short, Ignores Teachers’ Needs

By now you may have heard that the Kent School District has declared an impasse in negotiations. (For more info, see the Aug 14th Bargaining Update)  KSD’s webpage includes several new posts that can only be seen as propaganda and half-truths.  The District claims that the union, “rejected proposal for increased compensation.”   Why would the KEA reject a raise, you may ask?

The most recent proposals brought to the table by the Kent School District (See the July 30th Bargaining Update) give the illusion that they are finally coming to the realization that Kent teachers and certificated professionals are grossly underpaid and overworked.  However, if one looks more closely, we see that the District falls well short of what KEA members have been bargaining for.

KSD’s proposal is a two year plan that breaks down like this:

Year One of Contract

  • Additional 7.5 hrs of personal Effective Education, deemed done (no additional paperwork)
  • Additional 7.5 hrs of District-directed Effective Ed, which would be completed at a time and place of the District’s choosing outside the workday
  • Additional $1,000 Commitment Stipend
  • Additional $2,000 for any teacher who completes their first year in Kent successfully (or survives!)

Remember that Effective Education is the pay we get for the extra work we do outside our regularly contracted 7.5 hour day.  This “Year One” proposal means that while salaries increase (especially for teachers in their first year in Kent), it also means that KSD increases the workload of KEA members and its control over those members.  In addition, it does raise the salaries of Kent teachers and staff in their first year to the levels that KEA proposes.  However, it only raises all other teachers’ salaries by 1/2 of what KEA is proposing.  KEA is only asking to climb to the middle of compensation in the Puget Sound region from the bottom.  KSD’s proposal does not even come close to doing that

Perhaps most alarming is that since the additional District-directed Effective Ed would be completed outside the workday, this would mean that it could be required before or after school, or even on weekends–it’s all up to the Building or District Administrators!  Teachers need time to help kids in the ways that they know will be most effective, not more meetings and busy work designed to justify an Administrator’s bloated salary. 

Year Two of the Contract

  • Additional 7.5 hrs of personal Effective Ed, deemed done (no additional paperwork)
  • Additional 7.5 hrs of District-directed Effective Ed, same conditions as above

In total, the combination of the two years the KSD is proposing would mean an additional 30 hrs of pay within two years, but at the cost of even more District control and additional workload.   They still do not recognize that KEA members are professionals, or that KEA members’ workloads are already at the maximum level.   KSD, it seems, believes that KEA members are wage slaves, not valued professionals.

Oh yeah, one more thing– KSD ended June with a $27 million budget surplus– even higher than they projected!  It seems that the looming threat of a strike does not faze the District’s Administration.  Let’s hope they come to their senses soon, and  adequately address the issues of Time, Workload, and Compensation that KEA members demand solutions to.

I urge everyone to learn more about the KEA’s positions on key issues that affect not noly teachers, but students as well.  Don’t simply believe the misinformation that the KSD continues to spread on its webpage.  Check out www.kentschools.org for more info.

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21 Responses to “KSD Proposal Falls Short, Ignores Teachers’ Needs”

  1. Tom Larsen, KW Says:

    Does compensation matter?

    When I started in the Kent School District 10 years ago, my salary was so low that I qualified for food stamps. I know personally at least 10 teachers who have left the District in the last 2 years because their salary was too low to meet their basic financial needs, such as student loans, healthcare, or childcare. We are at the bottom in the Puget Sound when it comes to pay, and that means dedicated professionals are leaving. It used to be that teaching was a respectable career that afforded teachers with a decent middle class lifestyle.

    While the economy may be in poor shape overall, that does not automatically mean that the Kent School District is broke. They have a reserve fund that simply keeps growing as they cut staff and programs unnecessarily. They have a large, bloated bureaucracy whose priorities are often completely separate and unrelated to the realities of my classroom, and that of my colleagues. They continue to hire unnecessary consultants to complete tasks that could be settled without spending any additional money. (Outside lawyer for Unfair Labor Practice, outside consultant to compare Kent compensation to other districts, outside negotiator who gets additional money if we strike)

    Getting adequate compensation is very important to me. If Kent continues to devalue the work I do, I will start looking for a job elsewhere, too.

  2. Shocked Says:

    This is beyond belief! I am embarrassed, ashamed, and alarmed by KSD’s behavior. And anyone who believes what they (KSD) are telling the community, needs to wake up!!!

    For the District’s sake, I hope they don’t come out of this with a black eye. Afterall, I don’t want to blush everytime someone asks me what district I teach in.

  3. teachersarenottheenemy Says:

    this needs to be sent to the kent reporter so the public will see our side, too. right now parents & the community are only seeing the skewed district version.

  4. theresa Says:

    I’m not planning on leaving. I’m committed to my students. As a member of this community, I’m committed to the district of Kent. As a member of the KEA, I’m committed to this struggle.
    We have a district that treats us poorly because we roll over every time they kick us. They add Advisory to our workload without negotiating, they add moodle to the middle school workload without negotiating, and they added three curriculums at one time for our elementary workload and they don’t negotiate. They force the report card system that takes our elementary school teachers more than 40 hours to complete and they do not negotiate.
    Times have changed in Kent. We demand negotiation. We demand respect. We hold the district accountable to our demands about compensation, workload and time. We are asking for $6 million of their $21 million. That will bring us to the top of the bottom third in the state. Kent- the 4th largest district in the entire state.
    We are asking for more time. That costs them nothing. We are demanding strong language about workload and class size.
    We don’t have to roll over any more. We must be united. We must stand our ground for ourselves, our students and our community. If you remember what Kent was like 15 years ago when it was a top district, you know the possibilities. We can reclaim our place at the state level- #1 for technology, #1 for teacher innovation, #1 for teacher respect.
    United we bargain, divided we beg.

  5. KSD Student Says:

    I don’t understand what that $27 million is for if it’s not to compensate my teachers. This is total garbage. There is no rational argument for how that money could possibly be benefiting my classmates and I in any way, and it’s just ridiculous that my classes are getting cut, my teachers are leaving, and my education is being jeopardized by a bunch of money-grubbing suits. Way to go KSD, I can tell you care. Totally.

  6. CounterpointSue Says:

    First Thought:

    I live next door to a man who used to be president of the teachers union in Federal Way. He said that when negotations weren’t going well in FW, the union bargaining team would demand that a school board member be present at the table at all negotiations. He said that it kind of took the wind out of the sales of the district negotiator because “the boss” was sitting at the table, hearing the teachers’ side of the story, and he said that having a school board member at the table defused the situation pretty quickly. If we’re headed to a state mediator, can we demand the presence of the superintendent and a school board member be at the table for all negotiations from this point on?

    Second thought (I’m just full of them tonight):

    We have guessed that the superintendent is the fly in the ointment (although I really question that logic because nothing has changed under this new guy), but this would certainly help us determine if the school board is the underlying problem. Let’s say that perhaps one or two school board members have been leading the others in a direction that leads to a teacher walk out. Would a teacher strike be adequate justification for a school board recall effort? Obviously, I live in Federal Way, so this is not my community we’re talking about (but it sure settled down around here when a couple of live wires were removed from the board. Sheesh. Talk about dysfunctional.), but I wonder if those of you who live in Kent might wish to consider this as a viable next step once the dust settles on this.

  7. Need to Be Heard Says:

    In some other posts, there was mention about agreeing to disagree with one another in a respectful manner. I don’t think KEA members should be disagreeing–they should be supporting our cause. These proposals from the District affect ALL OF US; whether you stand behind your union and help or not, whether you disagree with KEA tactics, YOU WILL BENEFIT from whatever we get in our contract.

    I support a recall that CounterptSue is talking about. Many of us are NOT IMPRESSED with the Kent School Board members and still waiting for Dr. Vargas to say something…..anything!!

  8. teacher Says:

    You would think that the school board president would want things to go smoothly and be very active in making sure both sides are acting professionally. I doubt having his school district go on strike makes him look very good running for mayor. Honestly, the district has made the board look like a joke and you would think they would realize this.

  9. anonymous Says:

    It has never been mentioned that with the district offer, some of our salaries, like mine, would be redueced by $300 or more. That means when I work those extra effective ed days, I work at a lower hourly rate. Also, when we negotiate next time, I start lower to regain what I have lost.
    It is great that they are willing to pay more to the people they will have to hire to replace me, if I choose to leave the district. Is that really what they think being competitive means?

  10. Are You a Parent in the KSD? Says:

    If you are a parent in the Kent S.D., please consider carefully the issues that Kent teachers are facing. I just heard that the Kent PTA Board has issued a letter to all PTA parents or just parents in Kent to NOT support KEA and their efforts.

    Really? I am flabbergasted that the Parent-Teacher Association would not partner with teachers in ensuring a quality education in Kent by asking KSD to reconsider how they spend their money. Is it for more admin salaries instead of more classroom teachers? If parents support KSD with their proposals, they will be hurting their own child’s education.

    We need parent support. Thank you.

    • KSD Student Says:

      I haven’t seen that yet, but my family did get a letter from Vargas about how wonderful/generous KSD is being and how selfish/difficult the KEA is:

      …Last week, the KEA rejected the district’s entire compensation offer. Their bargaining team has proposed additional increases in compensation, some of which would cost the district approximately $16 million over the next two years.

      …Please know that we value our teachers, as well as all Kent School District employees, while also recognizing that keeping our focus on students is our primary duty.

      Oh how nice of them, I can just feel how much Vargas cares about me. I mean, nothing like presenting only one side of an argument that’s really damaging to my education to make me feel loved, right?

      • Teacher Says:

        Thanks for your support. We need more people to understand the issues we face. In the past, Kent teachers have not been vocal about their needs, and now that our contract is wide open, teachers are learning how to speak up so things can change for the better in Kent–KSD owes it to our students, and for the hard working teachers and certificated staff who value not only a quality education, but quality working conditions!!! Again, what parent doesn’t want a smaller class size for their child? What parent doesn’t want to see teachers spend more time with their child? United with parents, we can get through this, but again, parents need to partner with us so things will improve in the KSD.

  11. Pedubb Says:

    I have a child at a Kent High School. Will all of the teachers go on strike if the union decides to strike?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Pedubb-

      In answer to your question, “Will all of the teachers go on strike if the union decides to strike?”:

      All teachers and certificated professionals in Kent (Nurses, Librarians, Psychologists, Counselors, and other Specialists) are members of the Kent Education Association, so they are the union. A strike vote takes a considerable majority to approve. (I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but it is much more than the simple majority needed in most voting situations.) If teachers vote to authorize a strike, all teachers and certificated professionals will be on strike in the Kent School District, whether they voted for a strike or not, since all of them will be subject to the same contract in the end.

  12. CounterpointSue Says:

    I was just talking with my neighbor again (the one that used to be union president in Federal Way), and we were wondering if perhaps the state school board association is behind this whole thing. After all, if the Kent School District, the 4th largest in the state, can push through a contract that requires that student achievement (i.e., test scores) be a determining factor in job evaluations, then it would be a matter of time before other districts would face it as well, and eventually that would open the door for merit based pay.

    Something smells here. I’m just saying….

  13. teacher Says:

    It’s good to know that we aren’t the only district dealing with this stuff.
    http://shorelineea.blogspot.com/
    Sounds familiar.

  14. Student Says:

    I really don’t understand how this is beneficial to the students. How is having all the really great teachers leave, classes and sports I’m interested in cut , etc., going to do me good in any way ? Teacher’s really deserve better than this. I hope KSD will realize how wrong they really are, because it’s screwing up the students’ education.

  15. Kayla Says:

    Schools starting late D:

  16. Student Says:

    When will school start??

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      School will start when the District and the KEA can reach a settlement to the contract, and teachers vote to approve this settlement. We are hoping that this happens sooner, rather than later. We want to go back to work, but the District is being mean and unreasonable.

  17. Jeff P Says:

    When does school start

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