Friday Update: Rays of Hope?

As you may have already read, Kent teachers were ordered back to work by a judge on Thursday.  The judge ruled that teachers must return to work on Tuesday, September 8th, with students returning the following day.  In response, KEA members met at Green River Community College on Thursday evening to explore their next steps.  Many members attending had expected to vote immediately to either ignore the judge’s injunction order and continue their strike, or to end the strike  and return to work in the hopes bargaining would continue.  However, KEA’s Bargaining Team recommended a third way:  delay any action until Monday to allow bargaining to take place, and see if an agreement might still be reached. 

The meeting Thursday night of about 1,300 KEA members began with an explanation by attorneys from the Washington Education Association, who explained the injunction process, and the consequences for teachers and union leadership should they choose not to comply with the injunction order and return to work.  The attorneys gave an overview of the process and answered questions from the audience.  Afterwards, KEA President Lisa Brackin-Johnson announced that the Bargaining Team had recommended holding off on further action.  At first, members were skeptical, calling instead for an immediate vote to defy the injunction.   Further discussion, however, caused the majority of  members to shift their thinking.  it was pointed out that with community support growing in recent days, more could be done both in the community and at bargaining to bring the District back to the table for a settlement.  In the end, President Brackin-Johnson took a vote for the resolution to hold off on action until Monday by having those that supported the motion stand.   The response was a nearly unanimous vote to delay action.  Members were told to return Monday, August 7th to the Green River Community College at 6 pm.  At that time, members will either vote to ratify a tentative agreement if one is reached through bargaining, or else they will vote on whether or not to comply with the injunction.

On Friday, both sides returned to the Bargaining Table in the morning to resume mediation.  A new mediator had been requested by KEA, which the KSD agreed to, in the hopes of breaking the impasse.  Both sides claimed new proposals would be brought to the table.  (No news yet on details of these proposals.)  While mediation continued, a huge crowd of teachers again gathered to line both sides of 256th St in front of the Kent School District Administrative Building.  Unlike last Friday’s demonstration, however, today they were joined by hundreds of parents, community members, and representatives from other unions such as the Boeing Machinists, Teamsters, and other teachers’ unions.  The united crowd held signs and waived at passing cars that honked and waved in support of teachers and a fair resolution of the bargain.   Besides the excitement of the gathering, KEA members and teachers used the event to circulate informational handouts that we hope will be further spread throughout the Kent community.  In an unwanted bit of excitement, an alleged drunk driver who had just allegedly committed a hit and run slammed into another car at the intersection of 256th and 124th.  KEA members witnessed the event and helped in aiding the injured and directing traffic until emergency services arrived.  No KEA members or their supporters were injured in the event.

Perhaps the biggest news on Friday, however, was that a small group of KEA members were able to make contact with School Board President Berrios and Superintendent Vargas Friday morning.  A small group of about 12 KEA members were sent to quietly and respectfully stand vigil without picket signs in front of Mr. Barrios’ house, in the hopes that they could encourage him to work to end the strike.  Mr. Berrios came out of his house to cordially greet the members, and invited them to join him at his restaurant, The Golden Steer, to talk about their issues.  The informal meeting lasted for several hours.  Superintendent Vargas joined the group for over an hour, as the members outlined their concerns, explained how class size impacted them, and talked about their hopes for a resolution.  Members in attendance reported that they felt that both Mr. Berrios and Mr. Vargas seemed earnest in their efforts to listen to and understand the members’ positions.  They also said that they directly asked Berrios and Vargas several times to become directly involved in the bargaining process.  As we hear more details of this meeting, we will be posting them.

So, with growing community support, a decision by KEA members to delay a decision on whether or not to defy the injunction, and a new mediator helping with bargaining, it seems that there is at least some home that a resolution might still be reached.  As more information becomes available, we will post it here and on the the www.kentschools.org webpage.

 

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47 Responses to “Friday Update: Rays of Hope?”

  1. KentParent Says:

    I am so pleased to hear that folks on both sides were able to set aside the emotions and have a “heart to heart” about the issues. We look forward to learning more as you’re able to post about it. On a side note, I would encourage you to work hard to preempt any negative portrayals of the KEA. I was particularly infuriated at the District’s post on their site that KEA failed to attend mediation on Thursday when they knew full well that you were in court defending their lawsuit! I think that KEA could have anticipated such a statement, however, and have tried to make sure something was already posted here on this site stating that the mediation was unfortunately postponed due to the court hearing. Also, I’m upset that the media was portraying the union meeting Thursday night as a meeting to vote on whether you would be defying the court order. While I know that may have been the outcome, your explanation here sounded much more level-headed and that needs to be what you make sure the media is hearing (though I do understand you can’t control what they ultimately report). Thank you for working hard for our students! It offends my sense of justice that you should have to go to work if you don’t have a contract and so part of me wants you to defy the order if necessary. That being said, I’m also concerned that such action would result in the kids being out of school for a very long time while the case goes up to the Court of Appeals or is taken up by the Legislature for the “can teachers strike” question to get ultimate resolution. So I’m torn. I’m sure you are too and that’s why I’m glad that you are waiting till Monday to make a decision.

  2. Lori Fast Says:

    In addition to meeting with a small group of KEA members on Friday morning, Mr. Berrios and Dr. Vargas met with a small group of parents on Friday afternoon. We were able to express our support for the teachers, as well as ask a few questions and receive clarification on some issues. One of the main messages we wanted to convey is that the culture within the KSD needs to change so that teachers feel respected and their concerns are validated. In addition, as parents we expect that the communication we receive from the district is non-biased and strictly informational, not just propaganda to further their agenda or to try to sway our opinion to the side of the district. Kudos to both of them for giving us 1 1/2 hours of their time for this unscheduled meeting. Hopefully it has made some sort of a difference!

    • Lake Youngs Parent Says:

      Thank you for articulating this in your meeting. That is exactly how I feel as a parent.

    • teachersarenottheenemy Says:

      Thanks Lori! Your message to Dr. Vargas and Mr. Barrios is EXACTLY what I wish for as a teacher in the Kent School District.

  3. CounterpointSue Says:

    WHOO-HOO! These are words I’ve been wanting to read!!! I’ve been waiting and waiting for Dr. Vargas and Mr. Berrios to step up and start to actually listen to the personal stories of individual teachers so they can get a better pulse on what’s going on with those of us in the trenches. Kudos to them for the effort. Now, I want to see them follow it up with action. The next step is for one or both of them to join the bargaining sessions so they can hear and observe for themselves exactly what is going on. Frankly, I think it might change the behavior of a couple of people on the district’s bargaining team if the “boss” was sitting there, observing. I sincerely hope that they would be appalled if they knew of the hissy fits, eye rolling, and disrespectful behavior the district’s bargaining team has engaged in throughout the last few months.

  4. Suzanne L Says:

    It is so refreshing to hear of a collaborative effort to reach a common goal. I hope it continues.

  5. English Teacher Says:

    Just to clarify: the meeting is SEPTEMBER 7th not August 7th as stated in the red hyperlink (always an English teacher!!)

  6. William West Says:

    Rally to support Kent Teachers – Green River Community College, Monday, Sept. 7 starting at 4:30 pm.

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=145196942680#/event.php?eid=145196942680&ref=mf

    Be there!

  7. Concerned Says:

    Thank you parents for standing beside us in this time of need. So much propaganda and misinformation through media and KSD’s website has hurt the image of KEA–but not for long! As KEA began to send out their information to help our community learn the truth, the tide began to turn a bit. The real force now is our parents in Kent. The District has tried in many ways to tie the hands of Kent teachers and in doing so, has delayed negotiations. Our KEA bargaining team has negotiated fairly and timely. On the other hand, KSD, has stalled negotiations, oftentimes, not coming back to the table with any proposals in a timely manner making our union bargaining team wait for hours (51 hours for that one proposal).

    If teachers go back to work without a contract, it is my hope that our parents of Kent will continue the fight for justice for not only teachers but their children. Standing peacefully and respectfully in front of Berrios’ home was just the beginning.

    • Got Tape? Says:

      I’m a parent and will put time in to continue to work towards smaller classes

    • Covington Family Says:

      I’ve heard a lot of misinformation on this website, including your 51 hours statement. For example, your 51 hours statement, looking at the timeline for both parties, 72 hours is the average turn around time for both parties with new proposals. So I’m not sure why 51 hours is a big deal. Can you tell me what on the KSD site is misinformaiton or considered propaganda? This will help me with understanding the facts from both sides.

      I believe the KSD site has been very dry because it has only listed the facts (like all proposals from both sides without commentary). When they were attacked by this 51 hours allegation on the news they started to document every meeting and made a mistake by posting that KEA could not meet on Thursday. It is true that KEA could not meet, but it was also true that KEA was in court.

      So much half truths, but I believe the real truth lies in the actual proposals from both sides. I would recommend everyone read them.

      I would really like the KEA to stop asking for a 10% or now a 6% raise instead of the KSD’s offer of 4.5%. I would also like the KEA to stop asking for smaller class size by awarding teachers more money per day if the classes get to a certain size. This is not a class size proposal. It is a compensation proposal. Both of these items makes it very clear that the KEA is out for more money and are not really in it for the other reasons.

      • Resolute Says:

        The reason there is a cost attached to the larger class size is as a disincentive for the district to allow a large class size to continue. Without the fine (which is basically what that amounts to) KSD can leave the classes large with no incentive to fix the problem apart from the union filing a grievance which takes a very long time and does nothing to solve the problem until the grievance is settled. Also this type of language is not uncommon and I think even exists in the current contract to some extent. As a music teacher, I was over in kids (37) for a few weeks until staffing could get straightened out. I received some extra money for those days I was alone. Trust me, there is no way on God’s green earth I would have wanted to teach those 37 kids and just receive the extra compensation and these were nice kids overall, there were just so MANY of them.

  8. Jimmy Hoffa Says:

    I’m SHOCKED!!! SHOCKED!!! to learn there are other unions supporting KEA

  9. Juan Figuroa Says:

    “As you may have already read, Kent teachers were ordered back to work by a judge on Thursday.”

    Really? Consider: “As you may already have read, a judge Thursday ordered Kent teachers back to work.”

    If this poorly written blog is indicative of the level of education of KSD teachers, I may well decide to homeschool my children. Surely they won’t be more poorly taught.

    • English Teacher Says:

      Critiquing the heartfelt thoughts of others is certainly not the point of this website. However, since you brought it up, it wasn’t judge Thursday who ordered teachers back to work. You may want to look up how to use commas as your sentence is missing two. It is also poor practice to use the word “of” three times in the same sentence. Please let us focus on things that matter!

    • Working Hard for YOUR KIDS Says:

      If you read the court’s order, THE JUDGE made an amendment to the order. The order was given on THURSDAY. The order is for teachers to return to work on Tuesday, and for the Students to return to school on Wednesday. There are NO RESTRICTIONS from the date the order was given through Monday night. You may read the order on the first page of the KEA blog.

    • GNN Says:

      Blogs are intended to be conversations and even ponderings, not literary masterpieces. If you really want to focus on teaching some quality items to your children, you may want to begin with kindness, courtesy, understanding, deference and respect.

    • Tuvok Says:

      If you do decide to teach your children at home I wonder how you would teach math and science. I know colleges require a minimum 3 years of math. Are you prepared to teach Geometry and Algebra 3/4? If your child wants to take Chemistry can you help them balance equations? You might want to think about this before pulling your kids out of school.

    • A Parent Says:

      Gee, who is Judge Thursday????

  10. KentParent Says:

    I know emotions have been running high and I know that things have been contentious w/ the District since early on but in light of recent progress, I would ask to you please reconsider the way this and the kentschools.org website are written. It seems that relations are fragile and I would hate for bitterness (albeit perhaps justified) would damage what little bit of a bridge you have going between you and KSD. In particular, I would note that this site’s home page currently refers to KSD’s refusal to accept a reasonable settlement offer and kentschools.org’s home page encourages suspicion of KSD’s presentation of events. While I was personally infuriated by the way KSD characterized KEA’s lack of a presence at Thursday’s mediation meeting, I think that the union as an entity needs to present a more moderate tone (while still stating the facts) in order to continue to receive public support. Thank you for considering my opinions.

    • GNN Says:

      I agree with you. I would like to see KEA rise above the pettiness and present the facts in more moderate tones.

  11. little.brain Says:

    I agree with KentParent. As one member of the small group of parents who spoke today with Dr. Vargas and Mr. Berrios, I would expect the same level of civility and respect from the union as we requested from the administration in their communication. It’s easy to get caught up in perceptions of injustice and change the tone of a conversation.

    Today we saw several examples that the district may be backing down in their rhetoric, and I hope the same consideration is given from the KEA’s side as well.

    Y’all are still going to have to work together when this is all over.

  12. In Which My Plans Changed. « little.brain’s outpost Says:

    […] this morning spread through the rally like wildfire and had already sparked some curiosity and murmurs that things were changing in the tone of the […]

  13. Jimmy Hoffa Says:

    I agree with KentParent. Despite all the horn honking and the supposedly “huge” turnout by parents being translated into undying support, the KEA is having a PR problem and a perception problem. The shouting down of Vargas–regardless of how you feel about his salary, even though apparently ‘it’s not about the money’–was viewed as childish, even amongst many within the union. That then was followed up by the juvenile exhibition at the Green River meeting, where teachers were wearing orange T-shirts with their employee numbers on the back – (orange t-shirts representing prison jumpsuits and teacher id # representing prisoner numbers. Get it ??? Clever, huh?). Another juvenile showing that I’m sure many students saw. But, “it’s about the children”, huh. Then I hear one of my own kids teachers, on the news for everyone to see, saying she would gladly defy a court order. What the heck kind of example is that showing the students?

    Gotta tell you, regardless of who you agree with, the KSD is looking much more professional and level headed than the KSD is. You don’t need a new negotiator. You need a new spokesperson and PR firm.

  14. Got Boxes? Says:

    Why are we allowing ourselves to be manipulated?

    I’ve heard people say this is just business, it’s not personal.

    So what I’m seeing is the KSD, which is a business, trampling over teachers, whose jobs in general, ARE personal (working with kids, parents, staff, admin, etc).

    What we want is a better learning environment for our kids. Why would the district think that administrators know better than teachers what that learning environment should look like?

    Sounds like a business so far to me.

    KEA has been taking listening committee ideas from the teachers for years. The district has then been taking that information, for the most part, and either saying no or ignoring it.

    Still sounds like a business to me.

    District KNEW the strike vote was coming. Instead of asking what can we do to work with teachers to prevent this from happening, they limited the number of bargaining sessions, came up with proposals that ignored our needs for more time with kids and smaller class sizes, and is attempting to make their jobs easier by quantifying our evaluations tying them into WASL scores, rather than doing the hard work of evaluating us based on our skill sets.

    Still sounds like a business.

    In fact, instead of attempting to prevent the strike from affecting kids on August 31, they decided to apply for a court injunction, take court action against their teachers! Virtually no new proposals had come from them since July 27.

    Still using business tactics.

    And again, KSD is reverting back to quantifying the number of tentative agreements they HAVE come up with. 17 sounds like a great number to the general public who thinks we can’t agree with ANYTHING. Well, when one of those agreements is about providing boxes and another is about adding 4 cents to substitute teacher salaries, 17 agreements doesn’t really look that great. What about agreements that affect kids’ learning environments???

    Still sounds like a business.

    Since Thursday, when the court injunction found teachers needed to return to work, KSD reports they were at negotiations but KEA was mysteriously nowhere to be found.

    Since Thursday afternoon’s KEA decision, Berrios and Vargas have been willing to come out of their bunkers to listen to teachers. (I hope KEA saw it for the ploy that it was, to get you off of his front lawn. While I don’t advocate for picketing in front of his home, I also don’t want everyone to read into it something that it is not). Then they chose to meet with some PTA folks in the afternoon. Our parents are THE BEST! They are willing to go into the trenches and join us in our fight for the kids. However, it DOES NOT sound like Berrios and Vargas are SAYING ANYTHING, like telling us they are actually going to DO something about any of this. They are simply allowing folks to “vent”, which is also probably giving them further ammunition for future battle strategies.

    Still sounds like business.

    NOT A VERY EFFECTIVE BUSINESS, BUT JUST ANY AVERAGE BUSINESS.

    Are we just any AVERAGE district? NO!

    KSD for a long time has been known to be on the cutting edge of technology and using research-based curriculum, especially for kids with special needs. They know what they are doing.

    We cannot allow them to turn us teachers into an average district for classroom learning. Our parents expect us to be the best, our community expects us to be the best, WE expect to be the best.

    KEA, don’t let these “rays of hope” lull you into a sense of settling for an average contract. We need a contract that will fulfill our kids’ needs and meet our needs as teachers.

    I am TOTALLY willing to compromise on many issues, but I’m NOT willing to GIVE UP what we KNOW to be best for kids.

  15. Got Boxes? Says:

    KEA, what is the point of a new mediator?

    Mediators are not supposed to be anything but a liason between groups. Is s/he going to run from room to room with a skip in his/her step instead of just walking? Is s/he going to laugh at every proposal instead of cry?

    KEA only had FOUR days to negotiate a decent proposal by Monday and now I’m afraid we just wasted another day waiting for a new mediator.

    Please help me to understand how this move helps us.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      I’m not the expert on this, but I will try to explain it as it was explained to me. It was believed by both sides that a fresh pair of eyes might help. Mediators are more than just messengers. They are used to remove some of the emotion as they present the proposals or questions from one side to another. They make suggestions on areas where compromise is possible. Let’s hope this does the trick!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I had the opportunity to speak with Board President Jim Berrios the other night on the phone (he asked to speak after I sent an e-mail voicing my concerns as a parent of 2 Kent students and a spouse of a KSD teacher).

    He was polite, listened, and even shared his personal experiences over the last couple years as he realized that change in leadership at the KSD offices was necessary.

    It’s definitely a good sign that he and Dr. Vargas are listening. I hope they take this opportunity to actively address what they have heard from the parents and teachers they have met with.

    In closing I told Mr. Berrios that my sincere hope is that the teachers are voting on whether to ratify a contract at their Monday evening meeting, and not having to decide whether to comply with the judge’s order. That would be a sad day for teachers, parents and children alike. As the judge said, labor issues like this should be resolved by negotiators and mediators, not the courts.

  17. question Says:

    I agree w/ kent parent:
    characterizing KEA proposal as ‘reasonable’ is subjective and comes off somewhat arroagant. Under current issues there is still a big ‘KSD wants to reduce teacher salary’ that refers to a proposal that was pulled off the table in june. Claiming that there is huge parent support,; it is unclear how you determine who is supporting and who is not.

    Focus on the issues: how is KSD class size compare to those in the puget sound and show w/ datais worse and thus a KSD issue.

  18. question Says:

    and I should have added that the districts propaganda machine, demonizing the teachers and kea is reprehensible.

    stick to the issues, and give supporting information to support your case that this is an issue that KSD should be held responsible for, and not the legislature’s (who by the way have been heavily funded by the teachers union)

  19. Concerned Kent Parent Says:

    I’d like to second KentParent; both sides need to drop the drama. Let us assume the parents in the district can make and educated decision regarding their support. I find myself somewhere in the middle, leaning my support to those that are in the trenches every day.

  20. The hammer Says:

    Where to begin. . .I did hear, firsthand, about the AM meeting with the group of teachers, Jim Berrios and Supt. Vargas. I believe in holding onto hope, but I would also like to view the meeting through the eyes of a realist.

    Changing the negative reader boards and taking inaccurate class size numbers off the KSD website appears to be a good first move, but it’s much like closing the gate after all of the animals have escaped. I’m sure it was actually pretty easy to make the call to change to a more positive message on the reader boards, especially since the intended goal of shining a negative light on teachers had been accomplished. The damage was done. We also know the reader boards had to be changed anyway to reflect the opening of school. I’m just saying. . .

    It should have come as no surprise to either Jim Berrios or Supt. Vargas that the negative tone from the district through the reader boards, correspondence and robocalls created ill will in the teachers’ direction. Hopefully, my next “set” of KSD correspondence and robocalls will reflect a more neutral tone. I’m waiting.

    Both Jim Berrios and Supt. Vargas are charismatic and accomplished individuals who stand to lose a great deal if public sentiment does not sway back in their favor. It is imperative that they present themselves as concerned listeners. Hopefully their efforts are genuine and not mercenary. We cannot forget that there has been a great deal of spin, misinformation, and proven lies on behalf of the KSD. Because of this we should continue to watch what they do vs. listening to what they say. We can pull the masks and capes out once we actually see some promising action taken. We need to stay sharp, vigilant and remember what has transpired throughout our journey.

    As I see it, our union brothers and sisters attending the meeting did a fine job of sharing their thoughts and frustrations. They undoubtedly felt better about having the opportunity to hold a civilized conversation about the major issues that still remain. It’s human nature to feel better after we “get things off our chest.” I do, however, think it’s important to ask ourselves some questions. How did this meeting move us forward? Was KSD given new information to help them begin to bargain in good faith, or were these concerns and issues the same ones we have been vocal about? Are they just letting us vent?

    I’m just asking.

  21. Cici Says:

    I was so embarassed to see teachers acting out while TV ran their names, etc. Grow up – your students saw this too – where is the respect?!!!

  22. JLR Says:

    Let’s see…how many parents are in the district and how many showed up for the rally on Friday? Don’t be fooled by a couple hundred supportive parents; most of us in the district DO NOT support the strike and will not tolerate our teachers defying a court order to go back to work. “We are KEA” is nothing more than a rallying cry for “we are a union looking out for number.”
    JLR

  23. William West Says:

    Clearly, the injunction is a move by Vargas and his cronies to weaken the union and intimidate teachers. Any one who has studied the history of labor in this country understands this. It’s an old tactic.

    My hope is that the KEA listens to the message of those who won for us the basic rights that we enjoy in the workplace today. There is a quote that comes out of (if my memory serves me), the 34 mpls Teamsters strike. Unfortunately, I don’t remember if it was Dobbs, one of the Dunne brothers, or another of those heroic organizers who made the statement. Anyway, when faced with injunctions, the retort was, “we wallpaper the office with court injunctions.”

    I support the teachers in this dispute, but I must say, the organizers do not seem well versed in how to win strikes. Vargas and co., with their carefully framed robo-calls and media messaging, are winning the propaganda wars. Time for KEA leaders to study their labor history and come up with a sound strategy for victory. Capitulating, injunction or not, must not be an option.

    As a parent of two kids at Cedar Valley Elementary, I want to see our wonderful teachers given the tools they need and the compensation that they deserve. I’ll be out their fighting for them.

  24. The Hammer Says:

    JLR, the many wonderful parents, children and community members who gathered at Friday’s rally were focused, organized, peaceful, intelligent and powerful. They were also willing to put the time and effort in so they could exercise their First Amendment rights and stand up for what they believed in. I applaud them and encourage you to invest in your beliefs by reaching past the blog site. Perhaps you can attend a rally. We can have a conversation. I find it odd to only see those in opposition to the strike on short sound bytes on the news, speeding by saluting with the middle finger, yelling swear words, or other rude comments from the car, or camouflaged on blog sites. Most of the comments seem to manifest themselves in bitterness over daycare issues, personal financial issues, or sour grapes over not being employed. We’re talking about kids and issues that directly affect them. Blaming teachers for your personal woes is extremely counter-productive and irrational. This portion deleted for violation of blog rules. Like Oprah says, “What are you really mad about?”

  25. William West Says:

    Who is “most of us,” JLR?

    Certainly this does not include me, my wife or any of the neighbors with whom we speak who have school age children. Please don’t presume to speak for me or others with kids in the KSD. Unfortunately for you, the fact is that there were many people at that rally. This portion deleted for violating blog policy on personal attacks.

    So, I take it from your remarks that you do not believe in democracy in the workplace. Is that a fair statement?

  26. Concerned Kent Parent Says:

    I attended the rally on Friday, not to support the union, to support my children’s teachers. I know about 20 parents who support the teachers but wouldn’t attend a rally for various reasons. I am sure that is true across the district. I do think both sides need to get to the facts and stop with the mud-throwing. I have very high hopes for Dr. Vargas, and believe that much of what KSD is dealing with now is due to years of neglect and bad management. He supposedly has worked as Superintendent in Residence for an organization called Stupski and they are about turning things around. He has made a terrible start, and any hope I had of him being able to turn this around is dwindling; I expected him to stay above politics, and he seems to be relishing in it. Its really not a good showing to make the situation so hostile when you are the name for the district. He should have and could have employed better techniques rather and stayed above the dark line, something we are expecting of the teachers. I would speak to the Union about their tactics but this is how Unions work and they are usually effective. Dr. Vargas is being paid great money to deal with this and keep the peace and manage our school district, he’s not doing that very well in my mind. How many of you posting are writing letters to your officials in Washington, and the KSD? No matter what your side, don’t underestimate that power.

  27. Lori Fast Says:

    I think that it is important for EVERYONE involved in this discussion to maintain focus…at this point, from what I understand, the sticking point is class size. Let’s keep in mind that this whole issue revolves around real people- teachers, students, and parents who are affected every day by the number of kids in their classrooms. My daughter is a 6th grader this year, and her class already has 33 students. Typically the class size increases throughout the year. It is very easy to say “it’s all about the money” when you have no stake in what is taking place. But when it is YOUR child who is affected, the perspective is much different.

    I also think it’s important to keep in mind that both the “Parent Picket” on Wednesday along with the “Full Force Friday” rally saw 300-400 parents and students out there with the teachers. Both of these events were organized strictly through social networking and emails, without much notice. The fact that this many people turned out IS significant and speaks for itself. I have yet to see a group of parents rally to support the school district (but would certainly support their right to do so).

    I agree with little.brain- when all of this is over we do still have to work together. Let’s not compromise the message by how we deliver it, and let’s continue to be respectful in our dialogue.

  28. Cici Says:

    Remember that Mr. B is running for a public office -of course he’s available NOW to talk!

  29. JLR Says:

    Hammer, you did have some wonderful parents and community supporters are the rally on Friday…congratulations. However, in my opinion, you do not have the majority of parents behind you and the negative comments will only get worse if the strike continues.

    By the way, why hasn’t anyone mentioned the district employees who are being affected the most by the strike: those hourly employees who are not getting paid because school is not in session. They are out 5 days pay, what do you say about that?
    JLR

  30. veteranteacher Says:

    The hourly employees will get paid when school is in session regardless of WHEN that is. The district will determine when the missed days are to be made up and then hourly employees will earn their pay – when they work as they always do. At the end, they will make the same amount of money that they would have made. If they work during what would have been a break or summer vacation because of a rescheduled calendar, then they will make that money then. Their pay MAY be delayed, but it will still be paid.

  31. veteranteacher Says:

    So, we are ordered to go back to work on Tuesday, Sept. 8 and students come on Sept. 9. If we do that, is Tuesday in lieu of Friday, Aug. 28? That day was supposed to be a flexible day for teachers and many of us already worked it earlier in the week (as notified by the district that we could.) If that is true and some people have already worked the prep. day and other people haven’t, how will the district know who is defying the injunction and who has already worked the flexible day?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Moot point, for now. I think if we decide to return to work, you’ll be expected to at least sign in. I will pass along your question and see if I can get a specific answer for you here or through picket captains.

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