District Can’t Settle, Won’t Settle

As many of you may know already, Thursday came with two major developments. KEA was ordered to pay fines of $1500 per day for each day since Tuesday, September 8th that teachers have defied the injunction order by continuing to strike. Each of KEA’s teachers individually were ordered to pay fines of $200 per day for each day they have not worked since Tuesday as well. When 74% of teachers voted on Monday, Sept 7th, to continue to strike rather than return to work, they knew that fines or penalties may be imposed, but believed that the issues they were fighting for were too important to give up on now. The small number of teachers who returned to work this week were overshadowed by the much larger and more united group of KEA members who stood fast and held the line. But there was a caveat to the judge’s order: she purposefully allowed more time for bargaining to continue and a settlement to be reached by making the order effective as of Monday, September 14th.

Something much more significant happened at the bargaining table Thursday. After a pause in bargaining since Tuesday morning, both sides returned to mediation on Thursday at 8 am. KEA’s Bargaining Team had spent the time since the last bargaining session coming up with what they described as their “Last, Best, and Final Offer” to the District in the hopes that a settlement would be reached before the fines would be handed down later in the day. The guiding question driving KEA’s Bargaining Team was simple: “How can we find a resolution without selling out the basic principles our members have been striking for?” The team worked together until 3:30 am Thursday morning crafting their proposal. Using District financial data, they formed a proposal that would come in at or below the costs of the KSD’s last proposal on Monday, September 7th. This, they believed, would finally move the District.

What they came up with was a proposal that will cost the District approximately $277,000 less than what the District’s last proposal would have cost! It would reduce class sizes with real caps across all grade levels, as well as caseload language for the many certificated specialists such as counselors, nurses, therapists, etc. Although these class size reductions are not enough to completely resolve the problem of Kent’s overcrowded classrooms, it would provide some relief and be a step in the right direction that could be built upon in the future. The proposal increased teacher time with students by limiting the amount and time of required meetings. It offered modest pay increases that still will have Kent at the bottom of the Puget Sound, but will at least offset the effect of inflation on teachers’ already low wages. A time limit of noon was placed on the proposal, in the hopes that the District would come to an agreement before the 1 pm court hearing over fines.  You can read the text of the KEA proposal here.   At first glance, the District openly acknowledged the KEA’s level of movement towards a settlement. Hopes were quickly dashed, however.

Did the District accept the offer, or counter with a similar proposal that was close enough to allow the parties to quickly hash out the details? OF COURSE NOT! KSD’s proposal offered higher class size caps at the Elementary School, with no caps at the secondary level. The District offered nothing for addressing certificated specialists’ caseloads. The District’s class size proposal still included provisions that would nullify the language in years when any employees were laid off (meaning that it automatically would negate class size relief for this school year). It demanded 8 hours of mandatory staff meetings per month. It offered even more Effective Education days (meaning more work for more pay), but at the cost of making those additional work days controlled by District administrators. In short, it was almost completely unchanged from the District’s last proposal of September 7th.

KSD’s excuse during the entire bargaining process for not accepting KEA’s proposals has been that they simply couldn’t afford what they repeatedly deemed as, “costly class size proposals.” They claimed that if they tapped the District’s mammoth reserve fund, the District would be financially ruined. KEA offered them a proposal that was $277,000 less than what they had previously been willing to pay, and yet they still rejected it. So is the issue really that KSD can’t afford KEA’s proposals? OBVIOUSLY NOT!

KSD claims that it is concerned about the best interest of the students. It used this as its main argument for filing the injunction to force teachers back to the classroom. When KEA offered real changes to the contract that would reduce class size and give teachers more time with students by limiting pointless meetings, they rejected these changes, but offered nothing for students in return. So is the issue really that KSD is working for the best interests of our students? OBVIOUSLY NOT!
These are the facts:
KSD ignored local lawmakers who demanded that the District stop misusing tax money to smear Kent teachers. KSD has cancelled a regularly scheduled School Board Meeting this week because, in the words of Jim Berrios, “There wasn’t enough to talk about.” KSD has repeatedly locked out groups of concerned parents who have come to the Administrative Building to demand answers from Superintendent Vargas and the School Board about why they won’t lower class sizes. KSD used a court injunction to, in the words of KSD’s attorney Chuck Lind, “coerce compliance,” by forcing teachers back to work. KSD has repeatedly stalled at the bargaining table– taking hours or even days to respond to KEA proposals. Their responses amount to only minor changes in wording, but nothing of substance. Superintendent Vargas and the School Board have been invited by KEA’s Bargaining Team to meet together to go over the cost data for both proposals together to find common ground, but they have refused.

Ultimately, we must come to only one conclusion. The District never intended to resolve any issues at the bargaining table. It has, instead, continually pursued a pattern of intimidation, manipulation, stalling, and legal maneuvering to maintain their power. That’s what this is all about. Not money, not kids, but POWER.

Now we wait for KSD to come to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith.

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117 Responses to “District Can’t Settle, Won’t Settle”

  1. momofmany Says:

    I would like to know what you think “bargain in good faith” means. It seams to me that whenever the proposals aren’t what KEA is looking for, that term is used.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The KEA’s legal team is looking at legal options against the District for proving this to be the case. Things like withholding or misrepresenting budgetary numbers in public documents, harrassing employees on the picket line, and other things that I’m not sure I’m allowed to divulge can be seen as not bargaining in good faith.

      • what is wrong with you Says:

        The KEA has mis-represented everything they have put out to the parents. And as far as harrassing goes, how about the teachers that are pickets berrios’ resturaunt and the homes of the board members.

      • Joe the Watchdog Says:

        I wish you’d use the bad faith statutes, regs & common law/judicial precedent instead of strike & hold kids hostage. Then I’d be on your side, with the Constitution.

        Today, I stood with my fellow Americans in defense of the 1st Amendment against Obamacare. But I feel my pledge of allegiance is to the nation, not to conservatives or to liberals.

        Now please go back to work and ask for help in restoring fairness & Constitutionality.

  2. Baffled Says:

    Where can I find yesterday’s KEA proposal? I find community members that I have talked to are asking for details of yesterday’s offer and I would like to show it to them. I am pleased that people are starting to ask more questions rather than just forming blind opinions that we are out for more money.

  3. jodyc Says:

    9/11/09
    I just came from the Full Force Friday event, standing with the teachers, whom I support. (I’m a Para in Special Ed at an Elementary School).

    EXCELLENT work/reporting/writing…..make your voices heard is my one main suggestion–and NOT with emails….emails can be deleted, but mail has to be delivered.

    let the letter writing begin–to The Seattle Times, to the School Board, to Dr. Vargas, to the Kent Reporter…..

    God bless us one and all!

  4. Lee Says:

    Both the district and the teachers are wrong. And both sides are being immature.

    For starters, this is obviously a biased propaganda article. Of course, this is expected and normal given the district website is doing the same thing (the district is also putting the parents and kids squarely in the middle of the propaganda in very bad ways by how they handled the start of school plan this week). Both sides are doing propaganda, so neither side should complain when the other side is spending money on it…

    The very first mistake in this article was in the first paragraph. Teachers were *NOT* ordered to pay $200/day in fines retroactively to last Tuesday. They were ordered to pay $200/day in fines retroactively IF AND ONLY IF THEY DID NOT RETURN TO THE CLASSROOM BY MONDAY. A very very big difference. Notice something that is often forgotten here, the teachers aren’t being fined for not teaching, they are being fined for ignoring a court order. Also a very big difference. Simply obey the court order (stop breaking the law) and there is no fine.

    The district proposal is demanding, too demanding. But don’t be fooled, the KEA proposal is not as simple or clear as they are making it out to be in this blog posting. It isn’t cheaper, it’s just cheaper in the dimensions KEA finds valuable, not in the dimensions that the district finds valuable.

    Both KEA and the district need to do the following immediately:

    * Both sides need to grow up.
    * Both sides need to agree to binding arbitration.
    * Both sides need to GET BACK TO WORK.
    * Both sides need to apologize to the school workers not on strike who are not getting paid (both teachers and administrators are getting paid, bus drivers are not)
    * Both sides need to apologize to the parents
    * But most importantly, both sides need to apologize TO THE STUDENTS who feel that they are 2nd class citizens to the petty squabbling going on here.

    What does this teach our kids when presumably grown adults bicker worse than the kids do? What does that say for our future when we teach our kids that manipulation not cooperation is the way you get your point across.

    I’m embarrassed for all of you…

    Lee

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      FYI–

      Under WA state labor law, teachers are not subject to binding arbitration. Arbitration is offered to other state employees such as police because the law specifically prohibits strikes by those groups. The law does not specifically prohibit teacher strikes. We lost our case based upon the judge’s interpretation of common law, not on the merits of a specific law against strikes by teachers. We could argue that one all day, but it is besides the point.

      • JLR Says:

        KEA,
        Here we go again with your unfounded rationale about whether teachers are prohibited from striking. It is clear in your case and the others before it that teachers are prohibited from striking. If you feel the judge did not interpret the law correctly, then take it to the next level.

        I agree with what Lee says in his/her post. Both sides are at fault and both sides need to settle this dispute and apologize to the citizens, students and taxpayers in the Kent School District.

        I do find it ironic that high school football coaches and perhaps other coaches, continue to coach. I know you can say that it is a different contract for coaching, but it does seem a little self-serving on their part.
        JLR

    • Resolute Says:

      Teachers are also not getting paid. We get no strike pay and with as long as this is dragging on, we will probably not get a paycheck in September. We will eventually work those days and get the money but then again so will the bus drivers and para educators. Those groups are also eligible to apply for unemployment which we are not.

      The reason September paychecks aren’t always affected when teachers strike is because usually the strikes are shorter and the cost and bother of adjusting the paychecks is too much to move the money to later when we teach the days.

      • PLU 92 Says:

        Do bus drivers really get retroactive pay? Or do they just get paid for 180 days? If so, this strike may cut into their summer jobs and they may miss their opportunity to work if they are not available on time. I believe they will not come out of this somehow “undamaged”.

    • LovesJustice Says:

      Dear Lee: I hope you will also send your comments to the District Office and the School Board. Also, I want to clarify that teachers are NOT being paid while on strike. When teachers have a contract and return to work, they will teach for the 180 days mandated by Washington State Law, and will be paid at that time. Bus drivers, paraeducators and other staff who work only when students are present will also be paid for those same days. The only people who continue to collect their paychecks as usual are the administrative staff. That would include Dr. Edward Vargas, the new Superintendent. Rumour has it he is making 240,000 annually as he stands by and does nothing to negotiate a fair contract that would end this strike.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Dr. Vargas didn’t choose to break the law and dishonor his contract. You teachers can easily solve the “not getting paid” issue…..if you wanted to. You apparently don’t. So what the point in bringing up not getting paid? You knew that was going to be the case going in, and you know what you need to do to resolve it. As fas as I understand the school principles will gladly welcome you back.

  5. Tim Says:

    Can you please clarify what you meant by

    “A time limit of noon was placed on the proposal, in the hopes that the District would come to an agreement before the 1 pm court hearing over fines.”

    I interpret this to mean that you came up with a proposal at 4 in the morning on Thursday and gave the District until 1pm to accept it. Even assuming KSD bargaining members weren’t asleep at 4am, that’s still only 7 hours to read through a full proposal and try to come to consensus on it. I understand both sides are trying to resolve this, but take-it-or-leave-it offers with time limits like that can stand in the way of resolution.

    It’s plainly evident that the District is trying very hard to limit their potential financial commitment over the contract period. Statements like “$277,000 less than their proposal” sound fine, until you look at the details. Even if the KEA’s proposal does cost less than the District’s, it’s likely the proposal came with language that obligated the District to pay more money if/when circumstances change. For example, the $277,000 figure may have been calculated on class caps if enrollment stays the same – but what if enrollment spikes and the District has to fork over much more money?

    If the KSD bargaining team is doing their job, they’d be right to refuse this offer – especially under the pressure of a 7 hour review time.

    Your post does little aside from inflame the situation. It’s the same as the District saying “the KEA rejected a 3.5% raise” when that doesn’t tell the whole story. Why did you reject it? Because there were strings attached that didn’t meet your needs. Now the situation is reversed…except we don’t know what the strings are.

    I know you’re trying, and I know you have strong feelings on this subject. Please keep in mind that people will take your arguments with a grain of salt until the contract language and supporting figures are there to back them up. Don’t stand between us and the contract language – provide the information (with the strings/details/assumptions) and then help us interpret it.

    Unfortunately, that’s a tall order with the limited time and resources you have.

    • Tim Says:

      Correction – 8 hour review time.

      • Kent parent Says:

        Kent Citizen: My kids are ready and excited to go to school also (so are the teachers, with workable conditions), but they know that the teachers are working toward’s a contract that will benefit them.(the students) Have you explained to your daughter that the teacher’s are striking to have classroom sizes where they can properly teach her and others? I really hope that all parents are talking to their kids about the issues. My son’s 6th grade friend said to me yesterday, “Why would the teacher want smaller classroom? Are class could hardly fit just our desks last year!” We need to be informing our kids so that they won’t hold grudges when they get back to school.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Your facts are incorrect. We presented the proposal at 8 am. We gave them until noon because our Bargaining Team had to be in court at 1 pm. KEA’s bargaining team regularly has a counter proposal in response to KSD’s proposals within the span of an hour. KSD’s team has been taking hours and days. They managed to bring a counter offer to the table in the time allotted, so your argument makes no sense.

      We believe that is because the KSD Bargaining Team does not have the authority to make or counter any proposals without contacting the central office. Our proposal can be found at http://www.kentschools.org if you want to learn more.

      • Tim Says:

        The timeline is what I was asking about – you delivered it at 8am and wanted a response 4 hours later. I’m glad KEA can review and respond that quickly, but you have the easier position. The District has to analyze the impacts (cost, resources) before getting back to the KEA. That was my original argument.

        I think when I originally read the post I assumed you stated the District didn’t respond before noon – which I think makes sense. Were both parties supposed to show up with offers? If that’s the case, then their offer isn’t a response to your latest, but a re-hash of what the District wants. Again, this makes sense.

        The seattletimes.com story even said that KSD is still evaluating the latest KEA proposal.

        Now I’m just confused about how yesterday transpired.

        Anyway, both KEA and KSD posted the latest KEA proposal:
        KSD posted the KEA proposal here: http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/KSD/CR/Budget/budget_negotiations/budget_negotiations/budget_negotiations/html/documents/09_10_09KEAPackageProposal.pdf

        KEA posted the KEA proposal here: http://www.kentschools.org/images/stories/KEApackage9-10-09.pdf

        The two documents are appreciably different. Aside from KEA’s version being out of order (starts with VII, then goes to IV, then VI), entire sections are missing (e.g., Article VI, Section 4 – EXTRA-CURRICULAR/EXTRA-DUTY PAY).

        How can these be the same documents? Furthermore, if KSD responded – as your post indicated – with an unacceptable offer…where is it? KSD hasn’t posted it, but neither has the KEA.

        I know I’m an outsider looking in, but if I’m having trouble with this then surely others are as well. More clarification please!

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        I hope KSD is re-evaluating our proposal! We are posting our proposals. They can post theirs. Bargaining resumed Thursday because we informed the mediator that we had a new proposal. To my knowledge, KSD did not have anything until they saw ours. Theirs is basically a rehash of what they had on Monday anyway, from what the Bargaining Team has told me.

        I don’t know why that section is missing. I didn’t post that, as I am only responsible for the blog. It may be that we only posted the portions we are looking to change, or maybe it was just missed during the process of converting the documents to pdf’s. I’ll pass the word along and see if the proposal is correct when I can. Since it’s the weekend, I’m not sure when that will be resolved.

      • Parent Says:

        I am hoping you are re-evaluating the district’s latest proposal (dated 9.11 on their site). Looks pretty darn good to me. What’s the deal? I’m guessing a lot of teachers would vote “yes” on it if you all would just let them.

      • K_S_D Teacher Says:

        I agree. I’m no lawyer but it seemed pretty good.
        Just a student away in most class size areas and an hour of meetings a week. They even took out the section voiding class size help if there were budget cuts, etc.
        Just my $.02 take a look for yourself. I used the 9/11/09 KEA proposal from kentschools.org and the KSD 9/12/09 proposal on their “school starts Tuesday” page.

        We should be voting tomorrow.

      • K_S_D Teacher Says:

        Correction: Can’t find the proposal on kentschools anymore but I was off a day on the dates. Both are on the KSD site. KEA from 9/10/09 and KSD from 9/11/09.

        My apologies.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        I’m not sure why the KEA proposal is no longer up. I haven’t talked to the webmaster for http://www.kentschools.org today. It may mean that our proposals have changed enough in the last few days that the posting was no longer valid. I will try to get a post up sometime tomorrow indicating where we are in bargaining.

      • NO MORE PRINCIPAL EFFECTIVE ED Says:

        I won’t vote for it as it is. They have thrown in a few stipulations that may be small and insignificant, but they aren’t. Those stipulations, that are about 2 sentences burried in there, change the meaning of entire sections.

      • Kent Citizen Says:

        Bargaining teams very rarely have authority to make or counter any proposal without contacting “central office” or “upper management”. They are just given the horrible job of sitting through hours of mind-numbing “bargaining sessions”. Senior level officials are usually purposefully left out of actual negotiations and are providing general guidance and approval to whatever happens at the table. I’ve been on the “management” side of contract negotiations. It was the worst experience of my professional career to date. I don’t envy anyone at this bargaining table. Everyone needs to hunker down and just get the job done. No more name-calling, no more propoganda or story-twisting.

        When I told my daughter this morning that she didn’t get to go to school again today, I apologized to her and told her that I was sorry for the fact that she had to wait so long to start school. She said, “mom, you shouldn’t say you’re sorry, the teachers should”. I’ve tried to remain neutral at home on the subject so that she wouldn’t go to school with a negative impression of her teachers, but she’s made up her own mind. And she’s 6.

        I hope both sides can get this done soon. I’m getting oh so very tired of it.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Our team has the power and authority to make tentative agreements at the table, without contacting anyone for approval. The final agreement must be ratified by 50% + 1 of KEA’s members present at a General Membership Meeting. It is traditional for the District’s bargaining team to do the same. If you go back to the beginning of this blog and start reading through some of our old bargaining updates, you will see that the District’s lead negotiator often has responded to our proposals by saying that they do not have the authority to make a tentative agreement without checking with their superiors. KEA has been asking the whole time why the people that can make a decision aren’t at the table for the District in the first place. That is why we are calling on the public to put pressure on Berrios, Vargas, and the School Board to get directly involved.

  6. Hillary C. Says:

    Of course, this is about power. However, it’s apparent to most folks that the union shares the district’s lust for it. No matter how much spin the union places on the “facts,” one can’t ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room. The fact is that the teachers decided to strike knowing full well that such a strike was illegal. Any decent attorney in Washington could have figured that one out in about 5 minutes. While such illegal strikes may have been tolerated a bit longer by other districts in the past before proceeding to court, it certainly should not have come as a surprise when the district sought injunctive relief. Judge Jarvis made the only ruling possible when she declared the strike illegal and really did the only thing possible on Thursday by imposing sanctions for the failure to follow a direct court order. I’m not sure she had the authority to order the parties back to the bargaining table, but I’m glad she included the provision. Hopefully, it will have the desired effect and a settlement will be reached soon. If not, the teachers have little choice other than to return to work.
    Obviously, the demands made by the teachers at the bargaining table seem reasonable, but it is nearly impossible for an outsider to make an informed decision as to whether an agreement should have been reached by now, or even whether the union’s most recent proposal should have been immediately accepted. After all, just because the district might have the funds available, doesn’t mean it is prudent to spend them.
    If the union’s claim is truly that the district has bargained in bad faith (good luck with that one), then pursue that with the unfair labor practices claim. That is the proper way to address those claims, not by striking. If the teachers want the ability to strike in the future, then seek a legislative change to allow for it otherwise face unfavorable treatment in the court system. At a minimum, perhaps the union should seek a provision for mandatory arbitration when collective bargaining reaches an impasse similar to what law enforcement agencies have. That way, contested issue can be resolved in a timely fashion without the horrible, long-lasting effects of an illegal strike.

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      It is illegal for state employees to strike. I am not a state employee. While the state does give the school district funding, some of which ends up on my paycheck, the state does not pay me. I am employed by a private entity: the Kent School District. My W4 says so and so does my check. If the state paid me, they’d have put binding arbitration in my collective bargaining agreement so that this could all have been avoided.

      • Johnny Quest Says:

        Wrong. That’s one of the losing arguments trotted out before Judge Jarvis at the original hearing. Accept it.

  7. FAIRWOOD PARENT Says:

    Power? Who wants the power, the KSD, or the KEA? Don’t point the finger at the district when you are just as much to blame in this power stuggle, that has only affected the children in a negative way and divided a community. Nothing good has come of this!
    Class sizes are not a Kent School District problem….they are a Washington state problem. You just wasted weeks of energy and time when you could have been doing something worthwhile at the state level, like the district has been, by taking the state to court for underfunding public schools!
    I think lowering class size is important, however until the school district gets more funding how are they supposed to pay for this? I was reading another comment that said they already have kids meeting in the gym. If class sizes are reduced, then where will they meet, the bathroom? It sounds like the school district needs to build more buildings…..funding that needs to come from the state!!

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      We had begged Dr. Grohe and the KSD to join the NEWS lawsuit that is currently being heard in court for over 6 years before they agreed to sign on last Spring! NOBODY has been more active in fighting at the state level for adequate funding than WEA in general, and KEA in particular. There is already capacity in the District to accomodate reduced class sizes…we figured on that when crafting our proposals. The problem is that some schools have classrooms that are overcrowded, while a neighboring school has classrooms that are not. The District hasn’t really argued that they won’t have enough space. They were talking only 6 months ago about closing a Middle School to save money. We are fighting for classroom size caps to force the District to redistribute students to balanced levels.

      • Kent Citizen Says:

        Doesn’t the Public School Choice option that comes with NCLB and the Step procedure for not meeting AYP kind of tie the district’s hands in setting class sizes? Our boundary school has failed to meet AYP for 3 years now and many students are transferring to another school. The District has to allow this, thus creating a very over-crowded school, and an under-crowded one. What other option do they have? They have to let parents choose to send their kids elsewhere and then they have to pay for transportation. I think moving kids around to other schools to level-load the classrooms is not as easy as you make it out to be. You disrupt routines, family plans and children’s lives and friendships when you do that. Not a good solution in my mind.

      • Resolute Says:

        Kent Citizan-
        As a school that was heavily impacted by the last boundary change, your example of Public School Choice is not an accurate view on why we are so overcrowded. We became so overcrowded when they moved our boundaries to include a few extra sets of apartment buildings but didn’t change our neighborhood boundaries as far as I could tell. We have a school about three blocks from us that is built similarly to ours but has nearly half the students we do and we are busting at the seams. We went AYP this year and last I head had only about 10 families more their kids.

        I hate boundary changes, they are disruptive and hard on the kids and the community of the schools. However it is a necessary evil of districts to occasionally have to adjust boundaries to accommodate an increased population in a localized area. I was subjected to a boundary change in elementary school that took my from my local school to one across the district. It was crummy that first year but after that, it didn’t make a whole lot of difference to me.

        Boundary changes are also not the ONLY option. Our school has been begging for portables for years now and have not been able to get them. A school down the street from us has three empty ones just sitting there not being used. Yes, it would cost money to move them but they are a one time cost that would REALLY help with overcrowding in our school and allow us to offer full day kindergarten which we haven’t been able to due to space concerns.

  8. Lisa H Says:

    Wow…this just breaks my heart. I completely agree that the KSD has power at the forefront and they need to be dealt with. I just don’t want to see our teachers get in any more trouble than they’re already in. That’s all the media wants to report about which doesn’t help us rally support. Is there anyway to deal with this from the other side of the picket line? Can we get our board overthrown and get rid of Vargas while the teachers are in the classrooms? I read the order and that judge did everything she could to say the teachers were not wrong in what they were asking for and ordered both sides back to the table. What is happening today? Can KSD be found in contempt of that court order for not bargaining today?

    • Kent Citizen Says:

      Geez, get rid of Vargas? You’ve barely given the guy a chance.

      • Ryan Says:

        Why give him more? This is his bargain, and it’s a disaster by any measure.

      • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

        Dr. Vargas has been quick to tell his employees that allowing the achievement gap to continue is a violation of those students’ civil rights. Take a wild guess what the number one factor in closing the achievement gap is? Yep, smaller classes. Look it up, I’ve found it in the research that has spanned over 20 years.
        If Dr. Vargas won’t advocate for what he expects his staff to achieve, then he should move along to another district. It’s my hope that he will see the disconnect between what he’s allowing the negotiators to do and what he’s called his entire teaching staff to fix.

    • Concerned for the kids Says:

      I am tired of hearing “get rid of Vargas”! The man just started and he was not here for the last 10 years as I watched these issues develop and get worse each year. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Dr. Vargas this summer and I did my research on his background and what he has accomplished prior to coming to Kent. I for one am impressed with Dr. Vargas and would like to give him a chance. I teach in this district and have for the last 19 years and I have to say I am embarrased that people are using Dr. Vargas as a scape goat. Check other management/labor organzations…the CEO does not come to the bargining table….that is not the way it works. This strike/defying will end, soon I hope, and we will go back to what all of us…or at least most of us want to do….TEACH! I hope that there are more people out there like me who will give Dr. Vargas a chance to lead the way he has before and help us heal and find a new positive climate in our district.

      • teacherpride Says:

        I personally know someone, my mother, who is on the union bargaining team for the tahoma school district where the superintendent IS at the bargaining table as part of the district’s bargaining team. I cannot say for certain how common it is but it does and I think should happen, espcially in a crisis. I think the outrage toward Vargas is because many were hoping that he would bring new leadership and priorities to the district. Unfortunately, he is continuing Grohe’s misguided practices that led to the KEA filing so many Unfair Labor Practice Violations against the district which are soon to be heard. I am not happy about this strike either and I am also not proud of some of our union’s actions. But, I do beleive we are standing for what is right in terms of getting class size caps in the contract. It’s a game, both sides are playing. It’s politics. It’s frustrating, sometimes infuriating. I’m ready to vote on something too but I trust our bargaining team to make the right chices before they bring a TA to the membership. (Please pardon typos, I’m tyoing in a mad fury.)

    • Concerned Parent Says:

      Get rid of Dr. Vargas? So you are saying that this problem of over crowded class rooms, has only occured since he arrived? Wow, talk about very little knowledge of what the true problem is. Dr. Vargas is the face of the district now, but has not been the core cause of the problem that has been slowly accumulating over the years.

      Also, for those that are speaking about using the savings fund. Think about your neighbor who did not save up, then was laid off and could not make his/her monthly mortgage payment. Bet you it did not take long before they had to foreclose on their home. The district(s), not just ours has to maintain reserve accounts for such scenarios.

  9. neelyparent Says:

    Why did you only allow the district 4 hours to review the proposal before it expired???

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      There was only a 4 hour window before we were to be in court. The offer expired, but can be put back on the table if KSD’s counter offer is closer to our proposals. This is common practice to jump start negotiations that have stalled.

      • Parent Says:

        Or it’s a tactic to say, “look how hard we’re trying and they aren’t doing a thing!”. Seems highly suspect to me.

  10. Vancouver EA Says:

    Stay strong Kent. Fighting for your students is the right thing to do.

    • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

      The KEA longed stop fighting for the students. That’s just a nice little smoke screen. If they were fighting for the students they wouldn’t be advocating moving them around like pawns on a chess board in order to meet their arbitrary class size demand. And unless the KEA and prove, with facts, their class size number is indeed the optimal number–it is arbitrary. And if they were “fighting for the students”, they would be demanding what amounts to “hazard pay” for teaching any classroom that is above the agreed upon class size.

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      thanks, nice to know there are others out there who see the big picture.

  11. Got Tape? Says:

    I just got back from the district office. I brought the article from this morning’s Seattle times. I wanted to ask them about KEA’s latest proposal that was $200,000 less and ask if the dist. was going to continue to look at it over the weekend. The article said the dist. didn’t have enough time to go over the proposal before the court hearing Thursday. The dist. employee that spoke with me said that actually the Kea’s offer was SEVERAL MILLION dollars more, not $200,000 less.
    Just thought I’d let you know what they told me.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      They have yet to justify their numbers, despite several opportunities to do so. The KEA bargaining team is meeting Friday afternoon to go over their proposal and show line by line how they came up with their numbers. The District has been unable or unwilling to do the same.

  12. what is wrong with you Says:

    Honestly, I have now taken the stance that i will not listen to anything the KEA puts out there. This is factually incorrect. Please get off the whole power thing, they have offered you how many contracts and you have turned them down. This is about you getting what you want and refusing to budge on anything no matter what it costs the district. This is a negotiation and your idea of negotiating one sided at best.

    • kent teacher Says:

      I am sorry but do you actually read anything without making an informed opinion. KEA used KSD own figures to come up with the proposal. I am sure this will get deleted, but I just had to say it…

    • Resolute Says:

      Those contracts were rejected because they said the same things over and over again and did not address our issues. Just because KEA got a new proposal, doesn’t mean there was anything different about it.

    • rupert Says:

      What is factually incorrect? Seems to me you’re making a lot of inflammatory remarks with no purpose behind them.

    • teacher Says:

      We haven’t budged? Perhaps you should go back and look at the very first proposal that KEA brought to the table back in APRIL! I would say we have more than budged.

      KEA took the numbers that KSD gave them and worked out a new proposal. KSD doesn’t even know where it’s getting some of it’s numbers from. Just like the whole class size posting. We really shouldn’t be surprised. This district has always had a problem with communication and two many people doing different things. Nobody knows what the other does and nobody works together up there.

      It’s just like asking a question about curriculum or assessment and getting three different answers from three different departments. And people wonder why we get so frustrated.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        On Thursday, KEA President Lisa Brackin-Johnson said in the press conference after the hearing where fines were imposed that our proposal was over $200,000 below the KSD’s last offer. That evening’s news showed this comment, along with a response from KSD Spokesperson Becky Hanks that our proposal was actually going to cost the District $5 million more than the KSD proposal. Then, when I watched the news on Friday evening, Ms. Hanks said that our proposal was $2 million more than the Districts. Allowing that some minor calculation errors may change the overall cost, do you think $3 million is a reasonable margin of error? We have justified our numbers, and even provided the District’s Bargaining Team with spreadsheet after spreadsheet that showed where our numbers came from. The District has yet to reciprocate.

    • TLT37 Says:

      You will not listen to anything the KEA puts out there “now”? I have read some of your earlier posts. I don’t think you have listened to anything the KEA has “put out there” to begin with, so it is difficult for me to believe you have finally come to the decision you won’t listen to the KEA “now”–you made your decision long ago. KEA has offered counter proposals to the district, because SOME very major sticking points need to be addressed, such as issues regarding class size and meetings. The idea that many contracts have been turned down isn’t exactly true, as the membership hasn’t voted one way or another with respect to ratifying anything. You can’t turn down a contract that currently doesn’t exist and isn’t yet up for ratification.

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      This IS about getting what I want; the opportunity to education your children well. If I, who knows the current state of education first hand, don’t stand up for what students need, who will? I suspect you trust your doctor to understand and treat your illnesses? When your CPA or H and R Block looks at your taxes, do you question everything they say? This is what I know and I know it well. I wouldn’t put my own family in a financial sling over something I wasn’t sure about.

  13. MyKidIsNotYourPawn Says:

    Shame on KEA for giving the district mere hours to accept an offer that might get us out of this mess. Seems the threat of financial penalties finally motivated you to offer something the district might be able to accept – but it’s not about the money? Ha! Our poor teachers are poorly represented by this union. Where was this offer before August 31st? You could have saved all our families, kids and classified staff, not to mention your members/our teachers a lot of anguish. Shame on KEA.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      PLEASE! The District did the exact same thing to us the evening of our strike vote, the night before the first day of school, the night before the first injunction hearing, etc. Where was your moral outrage then? Unlike those proposals, however, ours actually involved large concessions and new language, where theirs were largely photocopies of previously rejected proposals with a few words changed. We have been moving closer and closer to our bottom line position for months in a spirit of compromise, the District has stalled by recycling proposals with only minor changes to phrasing and calling them “new proposals”.

  14. Jean Says:

    So, we send our kids back Tues?

    • Got Boxes? Says:

      Please don’t make plans to go back to school on Tuesday Jean. This is another one of the district’s ploys to get parents, and the communities to blame teachers when the reader signs say, “teachers strike, no school today.” Instead, people should be upset with KSD for manipulating them into thinking school is supposed to start, when teachers will be spending the weekend deciding what their plans are for Monday. Everybody should be watching over the weekend for bargaining progress.

      Teachers are deciding on their own, whether to continue this fight or not.

      I predict you will find that there will be no teachers ready for school on Monday.

      • teacherpride Says:

        I disagree. I have been ready for school, as in prepared, for several weeks. What I am not ready to do is give into a contract that does not include reasonable class size caps, lessens meeting times and at least doesn’t force me to take a pay cut. I am pretty sure that is what boxes meant too, but just to clarify….

      • Got boxes? Says:

        You got it teacherpride! I meant there will be many teachers refusing to go back to work on Monday.

  15. Susan Says:

    I usually find myself quite cynical about the kind of situation we have right now between the KEA and the KSD, but yesterday, with the words of the judge, I found myself being a bit hopeful. Here is the perfect opportunity to show that the best interests of the students are at the heart of this matter. With the KEA in the unenviable position of choosing between the financial wellbeing of its members and standing up for principles it obviously believes in, the KSD Board should now truly go above and beyond to show its willingness to work this out without further delay. There should be more room for negotiating, not less, and if I could sit down with both sides I would remind them of the importance of good sportsmanship (for both sides) and the role models that they all are.

    If resources really are the problem, let’s see a proposal that makes this year livable with graduated changes planned for the future. We all know what it is like to live on a budget, but just because we can’t have everything we need now doesn’t mean we can’t plan ahead for the future. Can’t fix the class size problem completely? What can be done next year and the year after? Efforts on the state level clearly need to be a priority for all concerned parties–parents and community leaders included.

    I am sure that this sounds overly simplistic to many of you. But as a parent who has had to explain these many issues to a 7 and a 9 year old, I have been working really hard to be as positive as possible. Looking forward is the only way to get past this point. The KSD, the KEA and parents all need to remember that even if we are not in agreement we are all in the same boat and how much better it would be if we could row together in the same direction. It is, after all, for the children.

  16. Mom Irate with the District Says:

    Why would teachers be fined $1000 for this week if they don’t show up on Monday? Didn’t the judge’s order not take effect until Tuesday? That would be 4 days for this week. Just wondering where people are getting their numbers.

  17. Another Kent Parent Says:

    So does school really start on Tuesday or not?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      School will start only if a tentative agreement is reached, brought before the KEA membership, and approved by 50% +1 of the membership present.

      The District is playing a little game, just like they did last week. They announce that school starts Tuesday. Then they do their best to encourage teachers to cross the picket line. For example, during the past week, the District has tried to insinuate that teachers will not get paid in September if they are not back by September 15th (which just so happens to be Tuesday.) In reality, if a contract settlement is reached, KEA and KSD can bargain when people are paid and how much. The KSD can cut a check any time it wants to. The KSD also has spread the rumor that all employee’s health benefits will end by October 1. In reality, both Premera and Group Health have confirmed that teacher’s health insurance will extend through the end of October. Then Asst. Superintendent Larry Miner sends an email to members, telling them to be sure to fill out time sheets to be paid for the days they have crossed the picket line. In reality, the District cannot pay anyone unless they negotiate that pay through bargaining. Finally, KSD reports that over 100 members crossed the picket line last week, implying that KEA’s unity is crumbling. In reality, the District admitted on Friday that its estimates for who crossed the picket line came from who logged on to their District email accounts. Teachers can do that at home, as well as at school!

      When Monday comes, if the vast majority of KEA members are still not crossing the picket line, KSD will cancel school on Tuesday. This means that parents will again be disappointed, have to scramble for more child care, etc. Tactically speaking, who do you suppose KSD believes will be blamed for no school? KSD is counting on the resolve of KEA members to crumble so they won’t have to make any more concessions at the bargaining table. This is what they have been doing all along.

  18. parentwhovolunteers Says:

    Robocall says school starts on Tuesday
    I just got a robocall from KSD (ladies voice) saying school is starting on Tuesday. Have things been finalized? Thanks

  19. parentwhovolunteers Says:

    I also want to add (to the robocall post), I now see KSD’s website states school is starting on Sept. 15 – is this confirmed by KEA / teachers (unlike the other week)?
    Thanks for allowing and modding this blog – I think it would be interesting reading if KSD had a blog hmm…..

  20. Jimmy Hoffa Says:

    If pay is not the issue, then why did I see picket signs today saying “Fair Pay”?

    • Kent Teacher and Taxpayer Says:

      Note that the sign said “fair pay” not “more pay.” In my first year of teaching (five years of college and two certifications) I qualified for food stamps, a housing benefit and ate Ramen Noodles when I was lucky enough to find them on sale. I have more education than most of my friends and am paid less than all of them.
      I chose this career because I love teaching, but why does that make me less important than other hard-working Americans? I pay more to take classes and file for continued certification (required by the state) than I make when my “raise” is handed over for my added experience and education.

  21. Confused Says:

    Are the kids going back to school Tuesday or not? The KSD just called my house and said that school resumes for the kids Tuesday. Do I send my kids to school Tuesday and go to work in the HOPES that school starts?? Where can we find up to date info that tells us when the kids return?? I don’t care what KEA and KSD figure out, I just want to know what is happening!

  22. Therapist in the KEA Says:

    I find it interesting that there still isn’t a tentative agreement, but KSD feels confident in their ability to cooerce teachers back to work on Monday. I just received yet another robo-call. This one informing me that the first day of school is Tuesday September 15th. Looking on the KSD website they have updated and posted that date as well. It saddens me that KSD is spending this amount of money and time to present to the community a falsehood – are the teachers willing to return to work on Monday without a contract? KSD has gambled twice before about their ability to force the issue without a contract in place, I would love to play poker with the school board and admin because apparently they don’t know when bluffing just doesn’t work anymore!

  23. Former KAPer Says:

    So – if the school districts and the State of Washington want teacher strikes to not be an issue why don’t they provide the type of binding arbitration that is applicable to other employees who cannot strike? Seems to me that the state/district wants it both ways – the ability to sit around and do very little as far as real bargaining and compromise goes, and then use the law to coerce the teachers to accept what’s given.

    Next legislative session why don’t we push our representatives in Olympia to offer binding arbitration by a neutral party to school employees’ unions. If that doesn’t work go to the initiative.

  24. ITeach Says:

    Frankly, I liked KEA’s proposal — How many paraeducators do I get for having a caseload 133% above the recommendations?

  25. I support Kent teachers! Says:

    According to District General Counsel Charles Lind, the new superintendent’s salary will be $240,000 per year, plus an $833-per-month car stipend to reimburse the superintendent for using his own vehicle during official travel. The stipend is in lieu of a district-provided vehicle. Vargas also will receive full medical and dental, life insurance, the state retirement plan and 30 vacation days.

    Please, ask yourself what are your taxes paying for??? If Kent is at the bottom in what they spend on students and teachers, where is this money going? It is going to the pockets of admin people that have absolutely NOTHING to do with our children. They don’t know who they are or what they need. For this district your child is a dollar sign or less.

    If you want this strike to end, CALL or WRITE and DEMAND that the district stop with their petty games and settle NOW!

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      From what I’ve heard in the KEA office, we have confirmation of the salary you quoted, but we haven’t confirmed the car stipend. As I said previously, anyone can request in writing a copy of Dr. Vargas’ contract at any time.

  26. Cunego Says:

    My son and I went by two elementary schools over two hours ago (7 pm Sept 11.) One had a small typewritten note taped in the window saying “Welcome Back Sept. 15.” The other school had a lage readerboard in the parking lot with a man installing letters, message essentially the same.

    Regional newscasts said nothing about a settlement…did we miss something?

  27. Melissa Says:

    Please stay strong, KEA. I am cheering for you!

  28. KEAmember Says:

    Was reading over the KEA proposal… As a counselor I am thrilled about the caseload language. I am a bit confused on how we are placed as other certified staff under the librians… The bargianing team realizes we are ESA staff with ESA certificates & can also recieve our national boards? If they don’t can this message get to them. Didn’t know any other way at this time of night.
    Thanks 🙂

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The bargaining team is aware of that issue. KEA has bargained for additional stipends for specialists who earn an equivalent endorsement to the National Boards Certification that teachers already get a stipend for. I don’t know the exact status of that proposal at this time.

  29. Joe the Watchdog Says:

    I would prefer that the teachers went back to work, invoked judicial order + RCW 41.56.123 + no-strike agreement, and decided to demand Judge Darvas mediate and/or arbitrate.

    Perhaps had at the first hearing the KEA offered to accept arbitration from the Judge in return for returning to work… some like I may support you. But teacher strikes are illegal. I supported my teachers in my region… until they voted to strike.

    On that note: The law is very clear here. If common law doesn’t matter, then there is no “precedent” that guards things like Roe v. Wade (abortion rights) & Marbury v. Madison (right of US Supreme Court to review matters for Constitutionality). Without judicial precedent, there would be no order, no guidance to the court from previous courts. That’s the common law at hand that shaped so much of the silver bullet called WA AGO 2006 No. 3.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      It sounds like you have some legal experience. I don’t, personally, other than what the WEA attorneys have told us directly. From what I understand, arbitration in the way that you have described it is not legally possible at this time.

      • Joe the Watchdog Says:

        At this time, you really need some independent legal help. Not necessarily Mike Reitz of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation per se, but certainly somebody who’ll give you options to go back to work yet protest & get a fair deal WITHIN the bounds of the law & affordability.

        If you’d just go back to work, you’d find a lot of people who might support you but can’t condone illegal activity. Like, er, some of your own students on YouTube protesting your strike.

  30. Got Boxes? Says:

    Once the bad faith bargaining motion is filed, how long will it take to prosecute and what type of consequences would be received by KSD?

  31. Len Dawson Says:

    I was at the KL-KM football game thursday night and sitting a few seats down from some teachers and their spouses and heard two spouses go on and on about how they have been trolling on websites, including this one, to post messages masquerading as angry parents because their spouses of non-strike supporting teachers. Pretty low and unimpressive behavior.

  32. Carrie Says:

    I am a teacher and I understand your frustration, but what are you teaching the kids? I am sitting at 33 kids in an elementary classroom. During our current financial situation MANY people have had to give things up. This is just not the time to strike. We need to get through this time together and teach the children how we can work together. I would support you if we were not in the financial situation that we are, however, that is not the case. If small class sizes are your goal then you are going to have to give others things up, and yes I know you have already given up on many issues. This strike has just gotten ridiculous.

    What do you think the students are thinking when they watch their teacher defy a judge?

  33. James Straw Says:

    This comment deleted for a large amount of profanity. I hope your mom washes your mouth out with soap.

  34. kteach Says:

    As I read through the district’s most recent proposal, I started to get excited. It looked like we might finally be getting close to an agreement. In fact, I began wondering why we weren’t getting calls about a vote. Then I got to page #25 (the end of the class size section): “If it becomes necessary to implement Article VII, Section 8, of this Agreement, it is understood that this section is not applicable.” Sneaky…so, if there are layoffs, the whole section on class size is “not applicable.” That means KSD could “not apply” class size caps this year. Way to negotiate, KSD.

  35. chardonnay Says:

    When the strike story first came out I specifically heard teachers say it was not about money. Come to find out it is about bigger paychecks. Hello…….what the union and the teachers seem to forget is that the pay increase costs money, and that money comes from tax payers. Quite frankly we’re sick of being squeezed by everyone when it’s already difficult to keep our heads above water. Sheesh, I haven’t seen a raise for almost two years, so why do I want to authorize a 3% pay raise for teachers? As a single mom I work just as hard if not harder than teachers, and I work 12 full months, have fewer benefits, less vacation time, and most teachers make more money than I do. SO TELL ME- WHY ARE TEACHERS MORE DESERVING? Because they are union members, and have politicians in their back pockets? That makes it okay to funnel money from my kids school, and classroom and put it in the employees bank account? This is a vicious cycle that only leads to higher property taxes. THIS is absolutely the wrong time to ask for more money and you are all completely selfish. I encourage the KSD to fire you all and hire all new teachers…we might actually see an increase in the graduation rate.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Put the chardonnay down and read previous blog entries to find your answer.

    • Resolute Says:

      I was curious about the graduation rate issue and did a little experiment. I went to k12.wa.us which is the OSPI website which oversees all the schools in Washington. In the school report card area I took a look at the drop out rate for all the districts we are comparing ourselves to as having smaller class sizes. Every single district that had lower class sizes also had a lower drop out rate, sometimes up to 5% lower. Something to ponder.
      As to pay, it is at the bottom of every teacher’s list that I have talked to. The reason it is an issues, however, is because we are the lowest paying district around. Tell me, if you were a brilliant young teacher and had the choice between a district with small classes and higher pay vs a district with high classes and lower pay, which one would you choose? Obviously, district one and unfortunately, Kent is district two. It is going to get harder and harder to attract and, more importantly, retain great teachers.
      Also, correct me if I’m wrong kenteducationassociation, but we are not asking for increased taxes. Everything is being paid for by money the district already recieves.

  36. Lovin'MiddleSchool Says:

    I spent several hours today (Saturday) printing off and then sifting through all the contract proposals posted on both the KSD site and the KEA site. I highlighted changes and labeled them as either TIME, WORKLOAD, or COMPENSATION issues (realizing that Compensation is not the only area where $ are involved). Those of you who have observed that not everything is there are right–but that is true of both the KEA and the KSD websites.

    The most important difference, from my point of view as a middle school teacher, is still control of time outside the classroom–are teachers going to be trusted as professionals to use the time to enhance student learning through 1-1 time, parent contact, formative feedback, planning focused high-quality lessons–or are principals going to control what teachers do and where they do it.

    Most people recognize that good teaching takes more time than the 7.5 hours per day we are paid. The average teacher puts in 11.2 additional hours each week (2007 WEA survey). The KSD proposal (Sept 7) for time asks teachers to work additional hours on activities “directed by the building administrator” that “necessitate attendance” at the activities; the KEA proprosal (Sept 10) asks teachers to be able to use those hours in “activities selected by the teacher” and “focused on improving student achievement”. It might sound like mere semantics, but it is very much about control.

    The meetings issue is similar. Do principals really need to control 8 hours of meeting time each month (20% of our paid planning and preparation time) or are teachers responsible adults who can be trusted to read emails and get together as grade level or content level teams when they have significant agenda items. KSD is proposing control of 8 hours of meetings and KEA is countering with 2 hours of meetings each month.

    And behind CONTROL is RESPECT–respect for teachers as caring, committed professionals–and VALUE–does KSD value my personal time (those 11.2+ hours I “volunteer” each week) enough to not demand that I put in MORE of those hours because they want to take control additional hours in meetings and “principal-directed activities.”

    For those of you not in education, these may seem like trivial matters (“just suck it up”), but when you’ve been bombarded for 10 years with demands to increase student achievement to levels never seen before in US history, when you’ve heard hundreds of criticisms of education, when you’ve devoted evenings, nights, weekends, and breaks to grading essays and planning units, when you’re still given textbooks that are decades old (that’s right, 1997 and 1988!), KSD’s proposals for control that reflect distrust instead of encouragement are worth standing up against.

    We’re all getting tired of this strike. The longer it lasts, the harder it will be to begin the school year productively. But please notice that it is us teachers in the classroom who will take the brunt of the challenge of explaining and discussing the strike with students–not the administrators in their private offices. Prolonging the strike is hurting us more than them. We’re eager for a settlement; they can take their time. What we won’t do, what we can’t do, is be coerced into a contract that disrespects and devalues us. Beating us down does not make us more effective in the classroom.

    • teacherpride Says:

      Very well said! I am sending you an e-high-five!

    • rupert Says:

      Bravo!

    • Split/Combo Grade Reality Says:

      HI Lovinmiddleschool,
      Thanks for the excellent analysis of the language in KSD’s proposals that are really euphemisms for “control of the administrator.”

      It’s so ironic that KEA’s proposals for more time for our members to accomplish their work and interact with their students COSTS the KSD ZERO dollars, yet it seems to be a sticking point for KSD in agreeing to a contract with us…

    • Long time Parent volunteer Says:

      Exactly Loving Middle School! Wish all of those people who are putting down teachers right now would take the time to read and try to understand all you are saying. You have captured so much and said it so well.

      Keep up the fight, Teachers. There are plenty of parents out there who really do “get” what you are doing and why you have to do it!

  37. Response Says:

    It would be great if someone could outline exactly what the current sticking points are where the two sides differ in their proposals. It really looks like they are extremely close, unless I am missing something. All I noticed that was different in the two most recent proposals was one day of workshops that would be district-directed (KSD proposal) vs. teacher directed (KEA proposal), and then slight differences in the class size numbers (like 27 vs 26).

    Are we really this close? Where is the problem at this point?

  38. Bawbert Says:

    Here is an article published in 2001 about our new superintendent. It is from a Texas District that seems to be grateful that he was leaving…

    PAGE 14A Laredo Morning Times Wednesday, August 22, 2001
    IMMIGRATION/EDUCATION

    Ysleta hopes
    search eases
    tensions
    EL PASO, Texas (AP) —
    Ysleta school regents have
    an opportunity to reach some
    harmony now that superintendent
    Edward Lee Vargas
    is stepping down, creating a
    vacancy at the top of the
    Ysleta Independent School
    District, state appointed master
    Ken George says.
    On Sept. 5, Vargas will
    become superintendent of
    the Hacienda-La Puente
    Unified School District near
    Los Angeles.
    The Ysleta board has
    been racked with infighting,
    and a slim majority voted
    about a year ago to suspend
    Vargas because of
    allegations he misused a
    district credit card, violated
    policy in hiring personnel
    and misled the board.

  39. Jean Says:

    Personally I don’t wish any staff to discuss this strike with my children when school starts – that would be unprofessional and one-sided imo.

    I will explain what my children need to know about all this.

    I am still planning on school beginning on Tuesday – the office people at my kids school told me to expect it to begin then when I spoke to them on Fri AM… why would they lie? I’m confused.

    • Response Says:

      School starting on Tuesday depends entirely on the strike ending before then, which it may or may not. It could really go either way. The district is pretending that school will start then in an attempt to pressure the union to end it by simply giving up. They did the exact same thing last week, as I’m sure you noticed, but school obviously did not start as they claimed. This is 100% no different.

      With that said, as far as I can tell there are very few areas of disagreement left, so the strike really should end soon. Hopefully we get some good news tomorrow, and this is all over. If not, school will almost certainly be delayed again at the last minute.

  40. NO MORE PRINCIPAL EFFECTIVE ED Says:

    Yes, the proposals are very very close, but I won’t vote for a contract that adds more principal effective ed!!!!!!

  41. veteranteacher Says:

    Principal Effective Ed. is optional. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

  42. veteranteacher Says:

    FYI – Any raise that I get in this contract will be completely absorbed by the raise in medical insurance rates. I will actually have less money in my pocket this year than last. However, this is just to clarify.

    Right now, I’d just like to get back to work. We can keep working on this WHILE we are teaching and then we will have the good will and support of the community that we are rapidly losing right now, especially if we defy the court order. There ARE other ways. We do not have to quit, just change gears.

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