Kent votes to strike

With approximately 1500 of 1800 members in attendance at Wednesday’s General Membership Meeting, 86.4% of KEA members in attendance cast a vote to authorize a strike against the Kent School District.  Less than 200 members voted no.  This is the first strike in the history of the Kent School District, Washington’s 4th largest district.  The meeting included a lengthy discussion by KEA President Lisa Brackin-Johnson and KEA Chief Negotiator Mike McNett on the current status of bargaining proposals and a question and answer period held prior to the strike vote. 

The strike announcement was the lead story on both the KONG and Q-13 Fox newscasts at 10 pm.  Many KEA members interviewed by various media outlets highlighted the key reasons for the strike, including the issues of time, workload (esp. class size), and compensation, as well as the idea of a lack of respect by the District towards KEA members’ needs.   It was also reiterated time and again that compensation, while important is not the key issue driving this strike vote for most KEA members.  Rather, it was a belief that the focus of the Kent School District’s  time and money currently is not where it should be:  on classroom instruction and students.  

Members should meet at their worksite on Thursday, and expect to picket during their contracted day.  Contact the designated picket captain or captains at your local building with questions or concerns.  We ask that anyone interested in finding out about the current issues that have caused this historic strikc vote refer to for more information. 

It is the sincere hope of the members of the Kent Education Association that tonight’s strike vote will send a clear message to the Kent School District’s leadership, including Superintendent Vargas and the School Board, that Kent teachers and certificated staff demand immediate and real solutions to our issues for the benefit of not only ourselves, but more importantly, our students.   We hope that this vote will cause the Kent School District to realize that they can no longer disrespect teachers by refusing to bargain in a true spirit of good faith and compromise.  Kent teachers and staff look forward to a speedy and fair resolution to this crisis so that we can get back to the students that we care so deeply for.


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37 Responses to “Kent votes to strike”

  1. Laura Buchanan Says:

    Best of luck….I’m a first grade teacher in the Arlington School District. We are in the last year of our 3year contract. We will be watching and supporting you as this develops. My wish is that you have parent and media support, and that everyone understands that you strike to increase student improvement! I hope that the Washington State is listening!!

  2. Evanna Johnson Says:

    As sorry as I am that it had to come to this, I want to say that my family and I support the Teachers 100%. We have raised 3 children through KSD, with the 3rd child now a JR.The care, experience and devotion that was expected and most definately received at all levels was and is so very appreciated!
    Thank you teachers, and hopefully this will be resolved correctly and soon.

  3. anonymous Says:

    It said on the news that we have a meeting Sunday night to ratify a new proposal, if one is offered. If that is true, where and when?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Your building or worksite’s picket leader will contact you if that meeting takes place with details.

      • cedervalleyteach Says:

        We want to vote today I’ve seen the proposal on line and I think its only fair to our students that we vote as soon as we can on any proposals. Why make our students wait? We should vote now so that either way progress can continue and we can get back to our classrooms as soon as possible.

  4. Amber E. Olson Says:

    As a parent of KSD students, I must say that I am sorry we are at the point of a crisis and am also disappointed at the impact the strike will have on my daughters as KSD students and on their teachers as a significant amount of damage to their professional lives has been done.

    Having said that, though, I want you to know that I support your position on class sizes and ineffective administrative meeting requirements. For years parents have been complaining to KSD about unacceptably large class sizes and ineffective administration. You cite KSD’s apparent lack of respect for teachers and misplaced priorities regarding students. You should also note their lack of respect for and failure to take action as advised by their major shareholders – the parents who pay their salaries and entrust them with our children.

  5. Concerned Fairwood Parent Says:

    Be thankful you have a job! In this economy when great people are unemployed and would be happy with the type of salary and responsibilities that you have I think it is pretty smug to pull such a stunt. Come explain to my children why they will not be starting school as expected! What about all of the parents that have to figure out childcare while you strike for your ‘contracted day’. Oh, and I hope there are not too many teachers on the picket line 😛

    Get off your soap-box and get to work teaching our children if that is what you are really concerned about because that’s what you are paid to do. Nobody forced you to take a job as a teacher – you decided to take the job and accept the salary they offered. Smaller class sizes – hogwash. How about just having classes! Oh, and I suppose all of those meetings are a waste of time? God forbid you actually plan and figure out how to get the 66.8% of 10th graders who are NOT passing science properly educated! Or, should we talk about the 48.6% of 7th graders NOT passing reading!

    My goodness – wake up!

    • KSD Student Says:

      Our teachers deserve everything they are asking for. Don’t come at them like it’s some arbitrary “stunt” to get a pay raise, because it’s not. When Kent pays its teachers so poorly, good teachers leave. Good teachers get a second job to make ends meet. Then they’re exhausted, they’re cranky, and they’re miserable. And we can tell, and my education does suffer from this. Just as it suffers when my teachers are overworked, and when they don’t have time to look at my tests, essays, or heaven forbid conference with me.

      Smaller classes are NOT “hogwash”. If my teachers have less students to try and teach, help, and build relationships with, then everyone gets more out of a day at school. You want those 10th graders to pass science? You want those 7th graders to pass reading? Hey, maybe that could happen a little better if they had a little one-on-one time with their educators. When we’re each just one of 30, we don’t get the education we deserve.

      So who really needs to wake up?

    • Parent Says:

      Your response makes me sad, yes I want our kids back to school. But 28 kindergarten students, 34 fifth grade students, 30+ in a geometry class (that once all the admin stuff is done last 50 minutes), is OK…or as you said it’s “hogwash” to ask for smaller classes? Asking in the past has not worked, I know…I have written many letters. Have you written to our board, Dr. Vargas and the state to help improve things? Maybe your only expectation is bodies in a very pact classroom, I expect / want the best….the best is smaller classes. Thanks for listening, I am sorry about the childcare issues, that part of this whole thing is not good but maybe you should rant at the state, the board and Dr. Vargas to do their jobs too.

    • Concerned Citizen Says:

      Dear Fairwood Parent,
      Your child’s education will be greatly enhanced and enriched if teachers are offered a contract with conditions that will allow them to work more effectively with your child. Lowered class sizes and more time to prepare quality lessons only benefits your child. Also, keeping great teachers and attracting the cream of the crop by offering them competitive pay, will also improve your child’s education.
      Please review more of the information regarding the district’s financial profile. I have attended board meetings where budgets were presented and the Kent School District has plenty of money in their reserve fund. Even with this fact, teachers are not asking the district to deplete their fund, they are asking for a more child-centered policy on how these funds are allocated. From the teachers’ perspective, this relates to lowered class sizes (I do not view this as “hogwash” since it’s a proven fact that more one on one time with a student increases their learning), offering competitive pay, and decreasing administrative salaries (one of the highest in the Puget Sound area). The issue of time would cost the district nothing.
      While I’m sorry you will need to find daycare for your child if this strike is prolonged, it seems a necessary, challenging part of trying to achieve a long term goal: AN IMPROVED education for your child so he/she won’t be part of the 7th or 10th grade class that didn’t pass a state test….
      A well educated child = a contributing member of our society.

    • I'm Explaining Says:

      Yes, I do have a job. Yes, I’m thankful. What does that have to do with our strike? I’m striking because KSD piles on the work with little time for teachers to plan lessons, collaborate with their teammates, and to help make crucial decisions that affect our students. I’m striking because my classroom is comprised of students with special needs, emotional issues, and English language learners, AND YET, I’m expected to have them all pass the WASL or succeed on their assessments, or I will be punished with a bad evaluation. Now, really, does that make any sense?

      Yes, we accepted the salary they offered, but little did we know, we’d never get compensated for all the volunteer hours that we give. Little did we know that our salaries would NEVER keep up with inflation. Little did we know that once the voters voted for us to have a COLA, that it would be stripped away and never brought back because some “non educator” decided that that’s something that needed to be done. Little did we know that our employer would be so arrogant to dismiss our pleas for smaller class sizes, reasonable workload, and competitive salaries as if we knew nothing about our own jobs.

      I could list all the things that teachers give, that the public does not see…..our personal time is a big one. Our PERSONAL TIME.

      Before you get upset like this, take the time to work in a classroom every single week for a year. Then get on here and tell us what you think. Unless you’ve been there, you will never know.

      I’m sorry you have childcare issues. So what do you do in June, when school is out and you have to figure out childcare issues. Are you mad then as well?

    • Support The Strike! Says:

      Any of those who are unemployed can certainly retrain to enter the education field if they feel that it would serve them better than their current career. If they don’t feel that it would benefit them, they won’t pursue this. It’s that simple.

      School is not a daycare. Your complaint that your children missing school will cause you to have to have to figure out daycare is telling.
      Apparently you care more about the inconvenience to you than the impact of the quality of your childrens’ education that will affect them for their whole lives. Please look past the immediate and see what an investment in the future means. Sometimes it means a sacrifice in the present, but when that sacrifice pays off, it is all worth it.

      Finally, you have issues with the WASL scores, which is great. We are all worried about the performance of our children. Please tell me, however, how teachers are supposed to improve the number of children passing the WASL when they are forced to attend meetings that “examine the data” over and over, but never talk about better ways to teach. What about the time to meet with students who need help? What about the time to actually examine their assignments to determine what errors of thinking they have and how to fix them? How is a meeting that forces a teacher to sit through a text-book presentation by the text-book company that is nothing more than a commercial for the material going to benefit students in the classroom? Teachers need the TIME to figure out how to plan for these students and to meet with each other to analyze what is effective, not sit through another PowerPoint presentation by some highly paid consultant. This is why teachers are on strike.

      In a similar vein, please tell me how teachers who have more than thirty students in a class are supposed to give the individualized attention each student needs to be successful. A 7th grade reading classroom likely has more than 5 different reading levels; how are teachers supposed to reach all those levels with appropriate support when they have so many students they can’t possibly get to them all? How are Biology teachers supposed to teach all their students Biology when some of them are in classes that exceed 40 students, some of whom can not understand the material due to learning difficulties and literally require one-on-one attention that is not provided? Either the teacher gives those students the attention they need and the rest of the class is left with minimal support or the teacher leaves those students behind to focus on the other students. With such high numbers, it is impossible to get to everyone. The only solution is to have smaller classes, which is what the union is asking for. This is why teachers are on strike.

      I invite you to please talk to some teachers in the various schools to hear their stories, not just the compiled statistics or averages. You will be amazed what is really going on. I know I was.

    • born 2 teach Says:

      I am extremely thankful that I have a job. I think that teaching is a very rewarding career. I do understand that there are an unfortunate number of great people that are currently unemployed. That is why I can assure that this “stunt” has very little to do with money.

      While I am out picketing for my “contracted day,” I too will have to scramble to find childcare. Unfortunately, though, that is all many parents are concerned about– the fact that the “free babysitter” isn’t starting. We are not babysitters, we are teachers. We want what is the best for all children.

      The meetings that we spend hours on rarely if ever discuss things like how to improve WASL scores. It has been proven over and over again that smaller class size does improve WASL scores. Planning curriculum and instruction also improves WASL scores. Sitting in endless meetings does not improve WASL scores.

    • A Sad Teacher Says:

      I am very happy that I have a job, a job that I love. I never thought that I would be on a picket line, but here I am. I am a GREEDY TEACHER; greedy for more time with my students. As a parent myself it saddens me that more parents aren’t upset about the amount of time their childrens’ teachers have to spend with them and to spend planning quality instruction.

      Do the math, if I have 45 minutes to teach Writing and want to conference with each of my students once a week (the district and my adminstrator are saying I should be doing this). The more students I have, the less time I can spend with each one. Throw in the fact that the majority of my students are English Language Learners and have grammar issues.

      Administrators love looking at the data, going over the data with us, again and again. I think we need to look at the data too, but not just for the sake of looking at it. We need time to figure out what worked and what didn’t work. We need time to plan our instruction around the data. Not just keep looking at it. I agree with Support the Strike, sitting in meetings does not include WASL scores or student learning.

  6. justwrong Says:

    Based upon the common law of this state, strikes by public employees are illegal. There is no express or explicit statutory right for teachers to strike.” – Judge Joan Dubuque

    Time and time again, the state’s courts have ruled that public employee strikes are illegal. A court ruling last year in a case brought by the Issaquah School District against the Issaquah Education Association eliminated any confusion regarding teacher strikes. In spite of this ruling, the Washington Education Association is again threatening strikes as it aggressively negotiates new contracts this year.

    Superior Court Judge Joan Dubuque stated unequivocally: “It is this court’s determination, after reviewing the Supreme Court precedents of this state as well as the laws of this state, that teachers do not have the right to strike, and what is going on is an illegal strike at this time.”

    She went on to say:

    “Under our state constitution, Article IX, Section 1, it is clear that the state has indicated and said expressly that the paramount duty of this state is to provide a public education. There is statutory authority implementing that paramount interest of the state, and that is the mandatory education provisions that we have for all children. As I have indicated, our Supreme Court, in decisions ranging from 1958 forward has affirmed, has reiterated, and has expressly stated the fundamental precept that there shall be no public employee strikes, and there has been no legislative action by the legislature to overrule this common law.”

    Both Governor Gary Locke and Attorney General Christine Gregoire have also previously stated that teacher strikes are illegal.

    In a 1996 interview, Gregoire specifically addressed the issue of strikes when she told the WEA: “I am opposed and I have stated it publicly. We need to get the issue before the Supreme Court for a decision. If called upon, I would defend otherwise. It is a tough struggle based on [Washington] law.”

    So why do we still have teacher strikes?

    Under current practice, teachers suffer no penalty when they engage in an illegal strike or work stoppage. The school year is simply extended. School districts should have the power to seek sanctions against any illegally striking teachers by deducting two days pay for every day a teacher is on strike, as New York law allows. Schools districts also can file an unfair labor practice complaint with the Public Employment Relations Commission, and request that the local, regional (UniServ) and state (WEA) union affiliates each be ordered to pay a fine of $100 per striking teacher for every day of a strike.

    Case law is clear: teacher strikes are illegal.

    Additional Information:
    Issaquah court ruling transcripts | King County Superior Court | August 2003

    • Bawbert Says:

      From the ATG office –

      RCW 41.59, grants certificated employees of school districts (who include teachers) the right to engage in collective bargaining. RCW 41.59.020(4), .060. However, no provision of RCW 41.59 grants the right to strike. It might be argued that because RCW 41.59 does not expressly disavow the right to strike, such a right is implied.

    • Support The Strike! Says:

      Just because something is illegal does not make it wrong. Sometimes people must break the law to preserve something far greater. It seems to me that the teachers are breaking the law so that they may accomplish something for the greater good. (This is not the case in all strikes, but it seems to me as if it is in this strike.) This idea is called civil disobedience and it is one of the cornerstones of this great nation. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with this idea, but rather than explain it to you, I would direct your attention to two texts far more eloquent than myself: On Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau and Letter From Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While the struggle is not the same in scope, the concept of standing up for what is right irrespective of the law is the same.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Again, KEA and the WEA believe that strikes are not illegal, which is why they continue to happen. Opponents of teachers’ unions have manufactured this claim based on inconclusive case law. Quoting a decision that opposes strikes, as the previous person did, is valid. However, one can quote many other decisions in favor of teachers’ strikes. Strikes have been settled in this state prior to any action carrying through the entire appeals process from beginning to end that would settle this issue completely. As stated in a previous post, the legislature has not acted to make strikes illegal, despite several opportunities to do so. The argument that since the law does not say strikes are legal makes them illegal is illogical. There is no law that says you cannot wear a pink shirt, so does that mean that pink shirts are also illegal? (Perhaps some may think they should be.)

        KEA members and those that support us should ignore these silly academic arguments about the legality of strikes, and focus on what we are working towards: more time to teach kids by reducing class size and removing ridiculous distractions like endless administrative meetings. We need to shift the focus in Kent back to the kids. We need to restore our proper role as advocates for our students’ needs. The people in power– the ones who are currently holding up this strike by refusing to offer real solutions to these problems –do not believe that the teachers and specialists who work with kids every day are professional enough or smart enough to know what our kids needs.

  7. Rose Ocuaman Says:

    Hoping all parties can reach an amicable agreement soon, I cannot help but comment that the local government our schools are in are also to blame. So much building took place in the last few years that did not factor in schools, traffic, etc. This is something that should weigh more heavily when our city/county government is approving building permit’s. Good luck to all!

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      You are so right! This certainly flies under the radar for most people, doesn’t it? Thanks for pointing it out. We’ve all seen the building in Covington the last 7 years or so, and neighborhoods continue to fill in Kent proper.

  8. kentteacher Says:

    Just wrong…Unfortunately what you say is incorrect…

    While state law does say that some categories of state employees are prohibited from striking, no such clause exists under the section for teachers. The state legislature has had several proposed bills over the years that would make teachers’ strikes illegal, but the legislature chose not to pass them. Precedents in case law from the courts are inconclusive on the issue as well, and mainly come from the period before teachers’ unions were active in Washington beginning in the 1970’s. In cases where teachers have been ordered back to work, Districts have argued not on the legality of strikes, but on the impact on learning. Since the law is silent on the issue, strikes are legal.

  9. Parent-Teacher Says:

    Today was a first for me. No one in my family has even walked a picket line. I felt sad and out of place. Teaching is my second career and one that I made by choice. I left a higher paying position and work twice as hard – why??? Making a difference in the lives of kids is my passion. This isn’t

    As a parent and teacher, this strike is important. We need to make some changes in Kent – otherwise countless students will continue to be denied the education they deserve. Believe me, everyone of us on the picket line would have preferred to be in the schools. We didn’t have a choice – the district would not negotiate fairly or consistently and we didn’t even had an honest contract offer to vote on.

    The ball is in the district’s court. They need to have the leadership and strength to negotiate a fair contract.

    Please know that teachers are concerned about what is best for kids. This equals caps on large class size and more time spent outside of meetings.

  10. question Says:

    I will ask again, where is the data showing class size of KSD vs. neighboring districts. If it is in fact worse, then that is a valid issue to bring up in contract negotiations and more power to yiu. If it is on par w/ neighboring districts, then that is more a systematic issue that is w/ our state legislature and shame on you for dragging the district into this. Everyone agrees, smaller class size would be better, but all I hear is anectdotal stories comparing us to our neighbors. Are we asking KSD to more than our neighboring districts, without having more. When I made the same request of the district, they claimed they had little data but it did not support that our class sizes were larger except for 5-6 grades and that was adressed by lowering the number of students required for a para.

    Do you have any concrete data comparing our class sizes to our neighbors.

    • Happy but Eager to go back to school Says:

      KEA has posted such data on If you do not trust that, you can also search different district education associations, look at their contracts and see what class caps are in different districts for yourself. Google _______ ea and it should pop up with the association website and you can search the contract.

      • Happy but Eager to go back to school Says:

        The other thing to think about is if the KEA numbers are wrong, why hasn’t KSD disputed them?

  11. Len Dawson Says:

    The strike is unfortunate for everyone involved. I don’t think anyone is arguing that. But there is plenty of data showing how the class sizes, the pay, and amount of work, and much more is truly not at an acceptable level. Go to and check it out. And if anyone is listening at KEA – if you ever plan a full membership meeting in the dead end hole that is KentLake, you deserve no support at all. That was ridiculous.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Dear “Len Dawson”,

      I assume that your issues with Kentlake revolve around the nightmare of leaving the school after the meeting. Kentlake was the only location in which we could secure a space that was large enough to accomodate our members, had enough parking space, and was available on that date. Kentlake coaches were very gracious to offer that gym space by changing or cancelling their practices, and we thank them for that. We know that leaving the school was a nightmare for many of you, and we certainly apologize for that, but there wasn’t much we can do about the way the school and its connecting streets are designed. If we do hold another meeting at Kentlake in the future, we will take steps to try to improve the situation. If you have specific suggestions, I suggest you email or call your elected KEA officers.

      If and when we hold another General Membership Meeting anytime soon, please know that we will do our best to prevent a repeat of that situation.

      Thanks for your support!

  12. question Says:

    well I looked at, there is just a chart on 1st grade caps, and it does seem Lake Washington has lower class size. Hardly the comprehensive data I am looking for. Is it posted elsewhere? But I still say that some kind of comprehensive data comparing Kent to neighborning districts, showing class size is worse at KSD would get me to throw my support towards the teachers. Lack there of would give me the impression it is more of a systematic issue rather than a district issue. I still have not seen any solid data showing KSD class size vs. neighboring districts. Please post it on the website.

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      I saw your request and didn’t want to leave you hanging out here without an answer. I actually haven’t seen a complete table (I just put in a request asking if there is a table that could be posted, but I’m not sure if a comparison table has been put together), so I decided to take a look at the Auburn Education Association contract for myself.

      Here’s how I found it so you can read it word for word yourself. Go to the Auburn School District website, do a site search for “contract” and you’ll get the AEA contract, which is what you want. You’ll find the cap sizes listed starting on page 57. In a nutshell, this is what I found:

      Kindergarten: 23-1 (23 students, 1 teacher)
      Grades 1-2: 23-1
      Grades 3-4: 25-1
      Grades 5-6: 28-1
      (I saw some more caps on split classes, but you can look at those for yourself if this isn’t enough for you.)

      High School/Middle School:
      Regular Classes: 30-1
      Basic Classes: 20-1
      American Lit/Writing (11th grade): 27-1
      High School Writing: 25-1
      PE: 36-1
      Music/Voc Ed: No caps (which is fine, BTW)

      Now, here’s where it gets confusing. I’m going to transcribe here the Kent contract from last year. You’ll see how we get some wild class sizes when you see this. If you want to look for yourselves, go to the Kent School District website. Go to For Employees, scroll down to Human Resources, look for Contracts, and click on the KEA contract. You’ll need to go to Workload to find this page.

      “The District shall use the following formulas for determining average class size in the Kent School District.

      1. Actual enrollment divided by 52 in kindergarten and by 26 in grades 1 through 3 to establish classroom teacher allocation. (This will not include reading teachers, counselors, administration, librarians, educational assistants or anyothers who are not actually assigned to a classroom with a roster of students).

      2. In grades 4-6, actual enrollment divided by 29 to establish classroom teacher allocation. (This will not include music or PE teachers or any of the others as stated in 1 above.).

      3. In grades 7-9, the total actual enrollment minus the enrollment in vocational and special education equals the basic enrollment which shall be multiplied by six and then divided by 145. (This does not include counselors, librarians, educational assistants or administrators).

      4. In grades 10-12, the total actual enrollment minus the enrollment in vocational (including junior ROTC), special education, students in Running Start, and part-time students equals the basic enrollment which shall be multiplied by six and then divided by 155. (This does not include counselors, librarians, activity coordinators, educational assistants, or administrators).

      (There is a provision about how if the ratio gets to be 3 more than the average it triggers an hour of an IA, but you can look at that for yourself. There’s a provision about split classes being figured at the average for the lower grade. I’m going to skip to the next one that I think is important to this discussion.)

      7. For the purposes of determining elementary workload, students mainstreamed from Special Education programs for four (4) hours or more per week will be counted as full time students in the regular classroom.”

      (There’s a provision regarding music and PE teachers).

      Back to the discussion at hand:

      As we bargain right now, KEA wants Special Education and English Language Learning students to be counted as 1.5 instead of as just 1 student in the regular classroom.

      Are you as confused by this language as I am? I’m amazed that a previous KEA bargaining team accepted this language to begin with years ago. Obviously, we’re having to go back and fix something that has gone very wrong for our kids.

      Now, this is just a comparison of one district, but I do want you to notice that I did not compare Kent to Bellevue or Lake Washington, two rich districts. I simply compared us to Auburn. If you want to take the time to look through other district contracts, follow the steps I took you through here. Not every district posts it’s teacher contract online.

      You may be asking yourself what the actual class sizes are in Kent, because how in the heck can you tell from this contract? Well, I believe that varies from school to school. Let’s see if we can get some teachers to tell you through this posting what their class sizes were last year.

      For myself, I currently have my class lists for Meeker MS, and two of my classes are enrolled at 32 and 33 respectively. One of our teachers relayed that her neighbor’s daughter had to sit on the floor of her math class at one of our high schools for an entire year because the class was so large that she didn’t have a desk. Nice. We just sent a message to a kid that she wasn’t even worth a desk. I bet that floor was cold last December when it was snowing outside. I bet it was wet from melted snow, too.

      Kent teachers, help out with this. What were your class sizes last year? Please be specific as to what grade/subject you taught so that this parent can compare us to Auburn.

      • Julie Says:

        This is so funny how confusing Kent’s language is when in other districts it is spelled out clearly in black and white. The same goes for salary. In most other districts, the salary schedule and TRI pay (what we call Effective Ed in Kent) is right there on the salary schedule. One quick look and you know what you make. Here in Kent, not so easy. We have the state salary schedule, but add in Effective Ed, add in Principal’s Effective Ed (which the district hopes you don’t claim, however), Optional Days, Signing Bonus, Longevity Stipend, Professional Developement, etc., etc…And then we have to make sure that Payroll hasn’t screwed up our monthly pay check! It’s a nightmare. And all of those things mentioned above don’t really add up to much.

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      I’ve been busy for you again. I found class sizes for Federal Way, Sumner, and Highline. Federal Way was the highest, which is probably to be expected because they have had some horrible funding issues with the state funding formula and have made big cuts over the last few years. Despite this, they are still lower than what we have currently happening in KSD. I could not find the Renton bargaining agreement. I haven’t looked for Tacoma yet.

      Federal Way:
      K-3: 26-1
      4-5: 29-1
      6-8: 31 (core team class is overloaded when total exceeds 62 or 93 students–I have no idea what that means. They have 6-8 middle schools)
      9-12: 32/ not more than 151 students per contact day

      K: 20-1
      1-2: 22-1
      3-4: 24-1
      5: 26
      Splits: 2 less than the lower grade allows. No class shall exceed by the goals listed above by more than 4.

      Secondary: 30 (Middle school not to exceed 34. High school block classes not to exceed 34, the 60 minute classes not to exceed 32)


      They had an addendum to the contract that redefined secondary class sizes by raising them by 1, so this reflects that redefinition.
      The language is written in the same style as Kent’s contract except the division numbers are different.

      Kindergarten: Divide average enrollment by 47
      1-3: Divide average enrollment by 24
      4-6: Divide average enrollment by 26.5
      HS/MS Classes: 29 per class/145 per day (PE numbers are 33/165).

      OK, I’m starting to get kind of tired of typing. Is this enough comparison data for those of you looking for numbers? If I get a chance to look for Tacoma and find it I’ll add it on to this initial posting for this parent.

  13. CounterpointSue Says:

    I’m now sure that I’m getting obsessive compulsive in my old age. Here’s Tacoma. By the way, I’m now finding all of these on education association website for each district. In a nutshell:

    K: 24-1
    1-5: 25.3-1 (I’d like to see how they split the child into thirds)
    The plan is to not exceed these goals in the following ways:
    K: keep at 24
    1-2: no more than 27
    3-5: no more than 28
    No more than 26 in any splits. No second grade split unless teacher agrees (splits grades 3 and up)

    Middle School: 28, PE and Music are 34. Can’t exceed max by more than 3

    High School: 25.5 with a max of 30 in a class/149 kids per contact day.

    Ok, I’m finished now. Y’all can do the rest of the homework yourselves.

  14. question Says:

    counterpoint sue,
    I do commend you for digging into this. No it is not OCD, it actually is the kind of factual, non-emtional/imflamitory jargon that needs to be communicated to the public. This should have been done by KEA; I’m not sure how class size became a leading issue in the negotiations w/o any factual support. I would recomend condensing into a table that is easily digested, put on the KEA website, put in the districts face etc. It does seem to indicate that KSD class size is an issue, even when compared to the overall classsize issue in our area. I do commend you for your work and it makes a far better case for KSD dealing w/ class size issues than anything I have heard yet.

  15. Love Me Some Boxes and Tape Says:

    Thanks for the info Sue! It is important to get the info out there. I think the point that sticks out to me is that other districts’ contracts actually have language in them that cap class sizes. It is clear other districts understand that classroom caps ensure small, workable classrooms. KSD’s obstinance is another example of how they do not want to take fiscal responsibility and spend money where it matters….on the students! Over the past years, the several million dollars that KSD has overspent on administrative costs could have been used for class size reductions!

    Why has KSD not done this?

    From a taxpayer’s point of view, it would seem logical that since the state gives each district the same amount of money to educate each student, KSD should be able to mirror the classroom size caps of any neighboring district and still fund it, right? So where has all this money been spent?

    • NervousTeacher Says:

      Just FYI the state does not give each district the same amount of money. There is a lawsuit that will start in court on Monday called the NEWS lawsuit which is trying to address this issue. But Kent gets less money per student than many of our surrounding districts and has for the last 30 years. You can look this info up on the OSPI web site.

      You can find more info on the lawsuit here. The KEA, WEA and KSD are all partners in this lawsuit.

  16. Parent Says:

    Thank you teachers for taking a stand. I have been involved with the KSD for 6 years. My son is going into 6th grade with 31 kids in his class this year, far too many.

    I have volunteered in the classroom every year since he was in K. I have to say last year was an eye opening year for me. My job as a volunteer last year was to help tutor kids in math and reading. The teacher had about 24 kids in her class, half of which were behind in math by at least 1 year if not more. Wow what an experience, I told her I don’t know how you do it, these kids need one on one attention. She agreed with me and thanked me for coming in every week to tutor.

    I keep thinking that if the KSD had done their job correctly by reducing class sizes, these kids would not be this far behind in math and reading. I would like to see the administrators spend some time in the classroom, just as I have, volunteering there time to get these kids caught up. Then maybe they would get the hint that the class sizes are way too large!!

    Keep up the good work teachers this parent is behind you!!!

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