United We Stand!

Two opportunities for our KEA members and the community members who support us to gather have been scheduled this weekend.  

  • First, the Kent Parents Coalition has asked us to inform you of an informational meeting tonight, Friday the 11th, at East Hill Park in Kent.  (East Hill Park is on SE 248th St, just east of 104th Ave SE/Benson Hwy.)  The parent meeting tonight will begin at 6 pm.  The meeting this evening is not being organized by the KEA, but we encourage community members who support teachers or who have questions to attend.


  • The second gathering will be a rally for KEA members, as well as members of other unions in the area, on Sunday, Sept. 13th at 6:30 pm.  The rally will be held at the new Town Square Park, site of the Kent Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.  (Town Square Park is located on the corner of W Smith St and 2nd Ave N, south of Kent Station and across from the Kent Library.)   We encourage KEA members, supporters, and their families to meet there  to join together in a spirit of unity in this difficult time.

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111 Responses to “United We Stand!”

  1. Amber Says:

    Hello KEA leaders,

    I am writing to ask that you would consider scheduling a KEA membership meeting before Monday 9/14. We need to vote as a body as to whether we want to continue striking when each of us is now personally responsible to court imposed sanctions.

    The last time the members voted we voted to defy the court order and continue striking. We were told that any repercussions for our decisions would be covered under an amnesty clause in our new contract. Now we are being told that if there is no contract to vote on and we continue to strike we will owe sanction fees to the King County Court for defying the injunction.

    I am a first year teacher. I have been supporting my colleagues at Carriage Crest as well as the KEA membership’s decision to strike. I am asking that you would bring the voice back to your membership and ask them if they want to continue picketing or get back in the classroom on Monday, contract or not. The terms are different now that there are court fees being imposed.

    Thank you for all of the time you have put into your work for a better Kent education.

    Carriage Crest Elementary – 3rd grade

    • CovingtonTeacher Says:


      I believe that the amnesty clause would be retroactive for a contract at any time. We all understand how scary this is, but if we go back to school on Monday prior to ratifying a new contract, we will have backed ourselves into a corner we can’t bargain out of. All leverage will be lost and the school district, who has shown a willingness to bully the teachers, will bully you once you get into your classroom by not paying you for your effective ed or changing your benefits or even taking them away. I am nervous too about the fines, but history shows that no teachers that have had fines levied against them have ever had to pay them. I hope that helps.

      • Kindergarten Teacher Says:

        Covington Teacher,
        From my understanding the reason the other teachers did not have to pay the fines is they were vevied on them by their own school districts, not by the courts. Our fines are being put on us by the King County Court system, and I worry that they will not give back the fines.

      • Parent Says:

        Yes, but historically, the districts have levied the fines, not the courts. You are in new territory and I wouldn’t bet on not having to pay the fines.

      • National Board Certified Teacher Says:


        Which district are you referring to when you say the districts, not the judges are imposing the fines? I researched just a few of the most recent teacher strikes, such as Issaquah and Marysville, and it was the judge who imposed those fines.

        This portion deleted for violating blog policy against personal attacks.

    • THANKS KEA Says:

      Amber, the members of KEA voted on this already. The vote was 74% to stay out. No need to meet again for this. We voted to stay out until we had a tentative agreement.

    • teachershusband Says:

      ditto on amber’s comment

    • Anonymous Says:

      Do you really think King County will bring separate actions against every single KEA member who violates the court order? There are thousands of you and each of you is entitled to due process by the constitution before those fines can be demanded or converted into criminal proceedings.

      And even so, even if they do go after every single one of you, if the worst comes to worst, never forget that Martin Luther King wrote the Letter From A Birmingham Jail while he was serving five days for disobeying an unjust injunction. There are worse things that can happen to you for fighitng for your principles.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Okay…seriously…stop! Stop invoking Martin Luther King when attempting some type of moral equivalency argument. It makes you all look ignorant of history and also pretty much trivializes the great work MLK did. Nothing you guys are going through comes anywhere near to what MLK was fighting for. So, please! For the sake of your credibility, drop that comparison. It makes me ill to even think you guys are equating his cause to yours.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:


        I think it has been said by me and others over and over again that we use MLK as an example of where the idea of civil disobedience was used to challenge a perceived injustice. We are not comparing a march on the KSD office to the March on Washington. We are saying that for those of us who believe in what we are doing, we believe we are following the example of great men like Ghandi, MLK, and others. You seem to have ignored those posts, which have been numerous.

        If I was a coach giving a pep talk before the football game, and I invoke George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, am I trying to say that I am equivalent to them, or that my cause is?

    • Concerned teacher Says:

      I second the motion.

    • Len Dawson Says:

      I have been a strike supporter all along. It’s clear that the issues of class size, time, and even compensation do matter immensely in getting the best teachers and the best situations for educating the children. It’s also equally as clear that this district has little respect for it’s teachers and has never been interested in bargaining in good faith. But unfortunately the choice between being fined or crossing the picket line on Monday is a no win situation to put teachers in. I agree with Amber and echo her call for a meeting.

    • kentteacherytagain Says:

      Hang in there Amber.
      In the 25 years I have been a teacher, I have decided that depending on my Union has been mostly to my advantage and that of my school district.

      This is a scary time for all of us, but we must stand fast for “our team”.

      We knew when we voted that there would be some sanction- jail or fine. If we break the law we must pay the price same as everyone else. If however, we can get caps on classes and more time with kids. WE WILL ALL BENEFIT. I’m still going to fight for “their” kids that arrive in my classroom. (My kids are grown. If you are a first year teacher and just starting out I’ll be fighting for your kids or your future kids as well.)

    • luvtoteach Says:

      Amber you are a kindergarten teacher so think about the possability of having 29 little ones in your class. No matter how great you are as a teacher what does the research say about student to teacher ratio and achievement? I am sure you know the lower the ratio the higher the achievement. Now are they not worth this? I get the financial and believe we can get through this. The conditions in this district have to be improved for our kids. This district has not been supportive of any efforts to reduce class size without pressure.

    • Brooke Valentine Says:

      I don’t know what to tell any of you, I am not a teacher. But I can share with you what I would do, I would contact the King County courts and ask them about the fines. Every single time I’ve heard a rumor (really anything I’ve heard) about anything to do with this strike; I’ve gone straight to the source, whether it was the District, the union or actual Teachers, the school board or yes even the mediators. I suggest you look outside of your normal information source and your normal sources as well. Heck I know that I personally would try to get in touch with the Judge but that’s just me. Then once you think you’ve gathered as much info as you can make your own decision.
      I tell my kids on almost a daily basis that everyone makes bad decisions and everyone makes the wrong choice now and again but the true mark of who you are comes from what you do after you realize your error, and where you go from there.
      Don’t become so stuck in where you are now, in choices you’ve already made that you fail to keep moving forward. Keep learning and keep listening things change very fast in this world.

      • Brooke Valentine Says:

        Ok sorry for the lecture I am not saying that you did or did not make a bad choice or wrong decision this comment thread just reads like a lot of people are waffling which is what lead me to my choice chat. Carry on!

      • Anonymous Says:

        that’s good advice, but honestly the right person to ask is the KEA attorney not the judge. judges aren’t in a position to answer questions like that.

        what’s more tho, the judge won’t actually impose fines unless the plaintiff KSD files a motion asking the fines be imposed.

        The supreme court case of Walker v. City of Birmingham (from the civil rights era) is very instructive about exactly what the procedure necessary for actual criminal proceedings to begin is.

  2. veteranteacher Says:

    Yes, Amber! Thank you for voicing what many of us are thinking. I have been supporting my colleagues as well by participating in KEA activities and by not breaking strike, but things have changed and we need to look at what is on the table and then let EVERYONE have a vote about going back to the classroom NOW. We all agree that this has gone on long enough and that it has gone way beyond the issues at hand. It has become a power struggle and it IS hurting all of us. Instead of rallying on Sunday night, let’s have a meeting and allow the members to speak based on the new information in bargaining as well as in court. I support WHAT KEA is working towards, but I can no longer support HOW KEA is doing it. If we can step back and take a look, I hope that we can realize that if you keep doing the same thing and it isn’t working, at some point you have to come up with a different plan of action. Now is the time to rethink the plan of action.

    • Teacherinkent Says:

      I agree. I’d like an opportunity to voice my opinion on the proposals at hand and hear wether or not more progress can actually be made at this point. We know we wanted pie in the sky, have given in on a lot but is it time to say, ok we made some progress but we need to get back to work and work this a different way.

  3. Another Kent Parent Says:

    How about instead of a Rally you meet to determine whether or not you will going back to work on Monday. I amtired of Rally’s…I want to see bargaining….I want to see compromise…not a bunch of people standing outside rallying. School has been delayed two weeks. I know that the kids will still go to school the same amount of days…but this constant delay…having to keep telling my daughter soon and not being able to give her a date is ridiculous. The unknown is infuriating. Please let the teachers meet and vote, instead of rallying.

    • committed Says:

      Just so you know…we are doing this for YOUR children. It isn’t about us personally. We will NOT be back for school on Tuesday unless we have a contract that makes it a better classroom for YOUR CHILD. We hate the unknown as well. If we had our say, we’d have been back two weeks ago. Please get the facts and understand why we are doing this. If you do so, then we will have your support.

  4. Another KEA Member Says:

    Our union is not as united as the leadership would make it appear. Yes, we are united in our goals, but not in our strategies. We began our disunity when the 86 percent voted to strike, even though there were voices that warned us that the strike was illegal. Then we continued our dis-unity when 74 % voted to defy the court order. I am certain that the majority number would be sure to decrease if there was a vote again, but the leadership is afraid of posting diminishing percentages of support. Is there a way in which KEA members can petition to have another vote Sunday night, instead of a political rally? Two wrongs do not make a right. Even though the administration is wrong, defying our courts is also very wrong.

  5. willyoumeetmeinthemiddle? Says:


    I understand your position as a new teacher myself. At our last meeting, we discussed at length the possibility of fines, and with 74% in agreement, our membership still agreed to face those possible sanctions. I know Thursday’s ruling made it feel more real and urgent, but keep a level head. We knew this was coming. Stand together, stand strong.

  6. question Says:

    good point. Has there been a vote, at any time, to accept or reject the district current proposal?

  7. teacherpride Says:

    My understanding was that we voted to stay on strike until we ratified an acceptable contract. We were advised that it was likely that the judge would impose sanctions of fines or even jail time for some of our members. Our bargaining team assures us that the fines will be absolved as part of the amnesty clause. I am scared, but I am putting my faith in their leadership. All of the research I have done personally, including talking to my personal attorney tells me that no teacher in the state has ever been held to these fines once the amnesty agreement has been reached. I do know that a lot of people have questions, though I do not believe it is “in order” to take another vote based on the wording of our last motion which we passed. Perhaps the KEA could organize a meeting in which people who have questions or concerns can attend and get their questions answered? Or maybe a hot line? I think that would help ease people’s minds and could go a long way to keeping our lines STRONGER, which is what we need right now. So…. KEA, please know that people want to be supportive and hold the line. But, several members are scared, have questions, are waivering in their resolve and want reassurance. If we want to keep our lines strong I agree that we need more than basic emails from our strand leaders at random. Keep it organized, we are almost there!

  8. long hauler Says:

    Our last vote was a vote to stay out until we had a contract. We knew fines would be inmposed. I would suggest asking your picket captain to call a meeting for your school so he/she can share information about the fines. You can also go to the KEA office on Saturday and talk to the strike coordinators. The short answer is to not be terribly concerned about the fines, they have NEVER

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I was wondering the same thing and agree with Amber.

  10. NotateacherbutstillKEA Says:

    Do you get an update from your strand strike leader? It gives further reassurance that no one will have to pay the fines. KEA will not agree to a contract that does not have an amnesty clause that includes that.

    • Parent Says:

      Perfect. Strike illegally, defy a court order, demand amnesty for fines levied against you by the judge. what a great example you all are setting. Please stop this nonsense. the latest contract proposals are so close. Push your union leaders to put one of these proposals to a vote. They aren’t out for your (or the students’) best interest anymore. Now it’s just about winning.

  11. WasaDanielParentNowAMeekerParent Says:

    Has anyone at the Union thought to file an Unfair Labor Practice Charge?? They are refusing to bargain in good faith. Seems to me that it would be a good step for your Union. I belong to ATU Local 587, we are not allowed to strike and this is a step our Union (unfortunately) often makes. Just one more way the KEA may be able to fight back.
    Perhaps your Union Leadership can call other area Unions for support, we know the Teachers may find themselves in a tight spot financially soon, many other Unions stand with you they may give you a contribution if you ask.
    Continue to stand strong, and fight for what is right, we’re with you!

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      We have added several ULP complaints related to this bargain to our existing ULP, which is set for trial on September 21. We have contacted other unions for support, and have been getting a ton of it in the form of support on our picket lines, letters of support, money for our strike fund or to pay fines, etc.

  12. momofmany Says:

    Good for you Amber!! Wow, I feel bad that you were mislead by your union about who would be responsible for paying any fines. I hope that wasn’t something deliberate on their part.

    • teacherpride Says:

      Hmmm…. I was at the same meeting and I did not feel misled. But, I don’t like hearing that some of our members feel that way. KEA: How can we fix this? We can’t maintian unity if eople are feeling misled, confused, coerced, etc.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        The first thing is to stop believing the rumors that are constantly floating around. Talk to your picket captains if you have questions or concerns, and they will get back to you with the answers. Trust in your fellow union members and the bargaining team. They are working for you. They are not stupid or ignorant of what’s at stake. Understand that the issues at the table aren’t always clear cut or easily explainable. Understand that if the bargaining team was constantly updating its members on every proposal and calling for a vote, no bargaining would get done. Try to relax a little this weekend and enjoy the nice weather. We will be back in our freezing classrooms before you know it…..

    • TLT37 Says:

      Misled? I was at the very same meeting that evening, and we talked extensively about the possible repercussions of choosing to remain on strike. Prior to the vote, individuals were even given the opportunity to ask questions. Not a single teacher from my building felt misled; we knew exactly what was taking place, and never once felt misinformed or misled. I think what has happened to Amber is what had happened to me (and Amber, forgive me if I am wrong!): I knew what I had voted to do, and fully understood there would be consequences for my actions. It’s just that the court ruling made it more real. I, too, am scared, Amber. However, it got to a point in my life where I finally had to take a stand for what I genuinely feel is the right thing to do. I know it may not be a popular decision, but sometimes (at least, for me) the hardest decisions made in life are the ones that matter most. For me, I simply wanted the time I had lost to pointless meetings (many things can be addressed over email) back–I wanted to be available for the student who desperately needed my help, and I couldn’t do that if I was sitting in a meeting. I also knew that all these meetings were eating away at my personal time, because the more time these meetings took away from my school day meant that many more papers I would have to take home to evaluate. Furthermore, I wanted contract language that would finally address the issue of class size, as I know small classes really DO matter–I can reach my students and actually provide them with the help they so deserve.

  13. Suzanne Says:

    First let me say- Amber, thank you for posting your name and taking ownership to your opinion. I appreciate that, something often not done on this blog. I believe it took guts to post what you did.

    That said, it is very concerning as a parent who has not supported the illegal action of a strike, to read this. This pretty much states that you voted in favor of the strike because you were led to believe that it didnt really matter legally and the union would cover you, NOT because you believed in what you were striking against. Now that it directly effects you, now that you can be held responsible for your actions, you are rethinking this decision.

    I am reading this as though you felt bullied into voting the way you did because the majority was voting this way…and it makes me wonder how many other teachers felt as you did…and if this situation could have been avoided.

    It concerns me that the Union is not bringing the proposals to you to vote on, so that our students could be back in school sooner.

    It concerns me that you were “supporting” your union, your fellow teachers, NOT doing what you felt was right.

    It concerns me that you were led to believe that you’d receive a pardon for your illegal action (amnesty).

    It concerns me that a vote isnt to be brought to the teachers..the ones who COUNT..until one night before they are to return to school..that to me says there are no plans to negotiate in good faith on a daily basis.

    So many things concern me over this whole situation, and you’ve just solidified it for me even more.

    p.s. I’m sorry the raise for new and wonderful teachers has been taken out by the union. I for one support new teachers as much as the old and hope that the District recognizes their worth as just as important as the older ones….

    • luvtoteach Says:

      The motion we voted and approved said we would not return to work until we had a contract. The matter of fines and jail time was discussed for quite some time with a question and answer period. KEA leadership is following what we voted on.
      The language in the contracts have had many loopholes. I trust my leadership to bring forth a contract to vote on that has the best they can get for what we have asked of them. They have no control over when the distict will make an offer. I have been jumping everytime the phone rings, checking my email and this blog every 30 minutes. My feeling is they are going to wait until Monday to see who crosses because they really are not concerned about getting kids back to school but rather breaking KEA.

      I hope you are emailing the school board asking for a settlement too,You have a voice with them because they are your elected officials. You even could have gone to the board meeting and told them your opinion. OH yeah they canceled that last board meeting because there wasn’t enough content to talk about. Maybe the next one.

    • GuestTeacher Says:

      As much as I would love to have a say in every change to the contract proposal nothing would ever get accomplished. If every change was brought to us for a vote we would be much farther from having a contract than we are because this all takes time – hours of time away from the bargaining table. The union knows how we feel and what we want to see in a contract. They are also the ones with the numbers and are present to gage if there is anymore room for movement.

      I too have wondered how they will know they have gotten as close as they can, but the head person on the negotiating team does this for a living. I need trust the bargaining team. However, I do not do this blindly. I have read the different proposals that have they been put on the website. Although, I have not had time to read today’s (12th) proposal.

      In all other cases where injunctions were filed and fines were imposed they were taken care of through an amnesty agreement. So, this was not misinformation from the union.

  14. PLU 92 Says:

    Thanks Amber! Your comments show that it is the teachers being held hostage by the KEA as much as the district. The union is mistaken if they think that court imposed fines can be waived away by an “amnesty clause” in any new contract. In talking to my teacher friends there is a sense of misinformation regarding legal sanctions. Please, KEA, clarify how sanctions may not be legally imposed if you do not return to the classroom…

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The simple answer is that an amnesty clause could require the District to go before the judge and basically say, “They have returned to work, so you can lift the fines.” That is what has happened in all previous strikes where fines were imposed for defying an injunction.

      • Another Kent Parent Says:

        I am sure you will take offense…but I feel there should be no amnesty clause…I tell my kids all the time that all actions have consequences…even those actions we feel are right. You chose to defy the judges order, so you need to deal with the consequences of your action. Not have all fines waved when you decide to end the strike. Civil disobedience comes at a price. Many have cited MLK Jr. as a source for standing up for what he believed in…he also spent many nights in a jail for doing so.

  15. jf quackenbush Says:

    I have a number of friends who are teachers in the Kent School District. I’ve been reading the theory by which KSD, and everybody else really, has been claiming the strike is illegal. Frankly in my minimally educated, non-lawyer interpretation, it looks to be far from settled. A number of states’ supreme courts have reversed common law rules (dating from the bad old days of union busting) prohibiting public employees from striking, and looking at the statutes in Washington, it’s clear that the state legislature left an opening for the courts to do the same for washington.

    If you folks can’t get a good contract by the 14th, I really hope you take the court case all the way to olympia. A well argued case and a solid decision setting real precedent on teacher strikes might be just the shot in the arm that all the districts and school boards in Washington need to start taking teachers seriously and start treating you like highly skilled, valuable professionals who are in education because you have a passion for it and care about our childrens future rather than minimum wage hourly employees stamping out report cards like widgets on an assembly line.

    District administrators in Washington have been far too weak willed, far too concerned with covering their own ***** and far too deferential to all of the poorly considered “theories of the month” education fads rather than buckling down and doing the hard work to accomplish what everybody knows will improve education for everybody:

    1.) reduce class sizes
    2.) pay teachers what they’re worth
    3.) don’t force highly educated professionals into rote recitation of canned lesson plans teaching to the latest high stakes standardized test designed to break the back of public education

    Stand strong KEA. Your brothers and sisters in labor are proud of you.

    • Pleased to be represented by the KEA bargaining team Says:

      I was at all the same meetings and do not feel misled at all.

      Quakenbush: Thanks so much for your logical response! You really do have a handle on what KSD administrators act like on a daily basis. I have found nearly every interaction to be mostly concerned with not giving a signature for something very necessary for the students—because they want to cover their behinds. And the theory of the month education fads, which are just spewing out reworked ideas of already known facts about teaching are using up a LOT of money that could otherwise go to students. How about the SIOP thing or whatever the acronym was? Do you know how many administrators and staff members got paid to take hours of classes on this “new” theory? Mostly it made clear that when you are teaching you should make your audience interact with you and they will learn better. I think it is possible that most of the teachers were well aware of this method. We did not need to buy this program and send everyone to week long or more training for this type of thing!

      Thank you Quakenbush for understanding what we are up against with the district and speaking up for us!!!!

  16. IP Advocate Says:

    I have been trying to do a little side-by-side comparison of the KEA (9/10) and KSD (9/11) contract proposals. Since I am do not pretend to have the expertise of the members of the negotiating team who are sitting in at the table for us for all these many hours, I am not sure if the latest KSD proposal actually represents positive movement or is yet another recycled version. Thanks for all your hard work responding to us!!

  17. CaringTeacher Says:

    Dear KEA,
    I would also ask that you please let us have a meeting before Monday. I would like to know how strong we are before making a decision. Although I am totally against breaking the law, I would stand by my group in order to keep from weaken the cause—but only if we were all strongly committed. I would also ask that this be a private vote, so we can receive an honest picture. I have looked for a contact list for the bargaining team and have found none. I have e-mailed Lisa, but I am sure she is too busy to respond. I am in hopes that the bargaining team is made aware of blog notes with requests from KEA members. I noticed in the contract to return, it does require the district to ask for forgiveness of the court. I believe the court will still want to collect the fines that it is owed. $340,000.00 per day would be just too much for King County to want to lose.

    • GuestTeacher Says:

      I have deleted the contact info for one of the bargaining team for KEA because nobody on either team should be distracted from the business at the table right now. I would ask that you direct comments/questions about bargaining to the KEA or KSD offices.

  18. CaringTeacher Says:

    Note to moderator: Please change weaken to weakening.

  19. teacher Says:

    The members in my building are not backing down. We are prepared to pay whatever fines come our way. We voted at the last Gen Meeting to stay out until we had a contract. We knew the fines were coming when we voted.

    None of us are happy that the district has now put us in this position. We are still hopefull that something will happen this weekend so that the district does not have to push us into making the choices on Monday of what to do. Some people may choose to go in on Monday, but the people from my building (that stayed out this whole time) have already told me they are not going back. It is a personal choice and a scary one. However, that is why we are where we are, the district uses fear to reign us in. I’m so proud of our members that have put a foot down and said “I will not be treated this way anymore and the kids in Kent deserve just as much as the kids in other districts”

    This is that important to me, and if I pay fines so be it.

    • Pleased to be represented by the KEA bargaining team Says:

      Thanks to Another Teacher: No one in our building is going in either. A friend of mine teaches in a third building where they have determined that none of them are going in either.

      We understood what we voted for at the last meeting. Please let our bargaining team negotiate. I know a couple of them and they are not the evil bunch that some would like to make them out to be. Please don’t keep asking for the latest updates and exact wording. We can’t exactly have a committee of 1,700 to get this project accomplished.

      It would be most helpful to the district if they did not bring a contract to us that was anything acceptable. It would benefit them if we just backed down and went back to school. Why would we want to give up now when we have come this far already. We need to continue just a bit longer.

      There was a reason that 86% of us voted for this. We knew the problems that existed and had for a long time. We knew that we had tried every single way possible to get administration to make changes, often in little things that had no money involved. We are a group that is willing to give and give but finally we knew that we AND our students were suffering at the hands of the district.

      I hope that we can vote on an agreement soon and be back at school with one in place. But if there is nothing to vote on, then know that we can stay strong together!

  20. CaringTeacher Says:

    Note to Moderator: Please change ‘that is owed’ to ‘that are owed’ in the 2nd to the last sentence.

    In my desire to get my message out I clicked submit too soon. Let me know if I am missing a way to edit my response.

  21. John Hughes Says:

    Please stop the strike and head back to class. My wife is a private school teacher and has more kids and LESS pay than any of the teachers in the Kent School District. My children went through the Kent School District and graduated and did well in college… all with increased class sizes. Sonehow those teachers did well.

    Times are hard. I have had to do with a cut in my pay due to the economy. I am NOT griping or going on strike.. I am working harder with an increased workload with less pay. I am glad to have my job. That is the reality.

    Please stop the strike and get back to teaching our children.

    It is becuase of thses strikes that I will be recommending to my son NOT to place our grandchild in the Kent School District.

  22. KSDteachermom Says:

    I am so proud of all of the Kent teachers in what we are fighting for, and proud of the parents who have given such support. I have just looked over the most recent KSD proposal on their website and honestly I think it is time to bring the membership back together to vote on what has been offerred. We are on the verge of asking our friends and co-workers to place themselves in a situation of deciding to stay out and risk high fines for an unknown outcome without giving them a chance to say how they feel about the current proposals. I realize we voted to stay out until we have a contract- and I have followed that as have most of you. But at some point we need to be allowed to vote on a contract offer. Please go to the KSD website and view the proposal for yourself and compare it with the KEA proposal. Lisa, could we have a meeting scheduled for Sunday evening to vote?

  23. Lech Walesa Says:

    If you are all united, why are some teachers back at work?

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Asking questions does not mean you are thinking critically.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Hey, wow! What a great teaching philosophy. Now, can your answer my question?

      • ITeach Says:

        Hmmm… Me thinks Lech Walesa and Jimmy Hoffa are the same person. Too much opinion for one persona?

        BTW, Kenteducationassociation, I did not care for your response, either. It was a valid question.

    • Resolute Says:

      Because some teachers aren’t part of the union and are not protected. Because some teachers didn’t agree with the strike in the first place and because some teachers have issues such as custody where any kind of legal issues could lose them their children. Some also have family issues where their spouse is pressuring them to return or they are the sole provider and are worried about bills.
      And 60 crossing out of 1745 sounds pretty united to me.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        All teachers and certificated staff in Kent are part of the union. This district is a closed shop, which means since all benefit (or sometimes might be hurt) by the contract the union negotiates, all are members of the union. KEA offers full membership, or you can become what is known as an “agency shop feepayer” and pay less a month in dues. The big disadvantage of being an agency fee payer is that you sacrifice the $1,000,000 insurance policy NEA offers to protect you in cases of liability as a teacher, and a few other benefits I can’t remember.

        All are part of the union, but not all participate in the union, just like in a democratic republic like the US is. If you don’t like the way the union is working, then I suggest you run for election as a Building Rep from your school, and work to make the union what you want it to be. That’s what I did when I felt the union was not serving me.

  24. lisa Says:

    The fines that the judge referred to are the same as we discussed at the last KEA meeting. The fines are always imposed upon individuals, but the remedy we talked about at the meeting will still apply. Nothing has changed from the last meeting. Be assured that the remedy we discussed will be in place. Trust your bargaining team.

  25. Consider This.... Says:

    Here is a letter from a neutral third party who has given some thought about teachers and their situation teaching in today’s classroom.


  26. GNN Says:

    Amber, All of these issues were discussed at the last meeting. Don’t kid yourself…none of us can afford $200/day fines. I’ve been in the district for 13 years and still don’t make that! But I’m sticking with the decision I made from the beginning. We have to go for the long haul. To go back Monday without a contract would be suicide for us. Every one who crosses the line makes it harder for us to get the contract we are fighting for and extends our time away from school.
    Dont give up Amber. Don’t allow them to bully you and scare you back into an empty classroom. Together we are strong! We will make it through this with a fair contract in the end. You will reap the rewards if you do not give up!

  27. committed Says:

    Hi Amber,
    I can understand your concern but please read KEA’s latest newsletter. I might help alleviate some of your fear about the fines. My opinion is that if we call another vote, we will appear weak and embolden a school district already drunk with power. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but when I voted to defy that court order I knew that there might possibly be repurcussions. And there might be (even though it sounds doubtful). But I ask you to think about this:
    Knowing what we now know about the district, can you imagine what would happen if we went back with NO contract? The district would have no reason to settle at all, much less to give us anything we have already fought so hard for. We would probably lose more financially than we would if were to end up paying fines (again, doubtful) but conditions would be worse than ever. That thought scares me far more than does the thought of fines.
    I am so sorry this is your first teaching experience…a strike! But I used to work at Carriage Crest and you have lots of great support there. Take advantage of your wonderful colleagues and STAY STRONG!!! We can do this….we have to.

  28. Kindergarten Teacher Says:

    I agree, with Amber. If we do not go back to class before Tuesday, the 15th, then my whole 3% raise will lost to the district courts.

  29. CaringTeacher Says:

    For those that think that we will not have to pay, our KEA president’s quote from her last update:
    “You are risking your own finances to fight for a cause that will change individual students’ lives and help furture students for years to come.”
    I think a meeting is in order.

  30. voice of reason Says:

    The fines for ignoring the judge’s order were imposed by the court. Neither the KSD or the KEA have anything to do with that. There is no way to structure an amnesty clause to absolve you of the fines.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Sorry, but you are completely wrong. The judge could conceivably deny the District if it petitioned to drop the fines as a result of an amnesty clause, but why would she do so? No other judge has ever done that. If her previous decision was based on precedent, then I doubt she would defy precedent in this case. This is not WEA’s first rodeo, partner.

  31. CaringTeacher Says:

    Dear KEA,
    I would also ask that you please let us have a meeting before Monday. I would like to know how strong we are before making a decision. Although I am totally against breaking the law, I would stand by my group in order to keep from weakening the cause—but only if we were all strongly committed. I would also ask that this be a private vote, so we can receive an honest picture. I have looked for a contact list for the bargaining team and have found none. I am in hopes that the bargaining team is made aware of blog notes with requests from KEA members. I noticed in the contract to return, it does require the district to ask for forgiveness of the court. I believe the court will still want to collect the fines that are owed. $340,000.00 per day would be just too much for King County to want to lose.

    • Response Says:

      I’m skeptical about these claims of amnesty clauses erasing fines levied by the court as well. The district could tell the judge anything they want, but I don’t see how they have any authority to change a fine that has already happened.

      Imagine if I got a huge ticket for parking illegally in a handicap zone at a school. Could the district administration tell the judge to forgive my fine? Of course not.

      However, I see these union meetings as a pain in the butt. I only want to go if we have a solid proposal to vote on. I am willing to wait however long it takes to get that.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Forget analogies and look at history. This is the standard procedure in strikes.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Kenteducationassociation…look at WHAT history? I believe the types of historical examples are when the local school district imposed fines, but then granted amnesty as part of the settlement. Now, I’m no lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I’m pretty sure the district has no standing when it comes to granting amnesty for violating a court order. The district is not levying the fines; the court is. Also, in situations where courts DID threaten to impose fines, the unions/districts settled before the fines would start. I’m pretty sure you have no stare decisis on which to base your statement that COURTS have granted amnesty to unions that defied their order. The KEA has now gone where no teachers union has gone before…thumbing their nose at the court and DARING them to actually fine you. You’ve deliberately defied the court order. And now you think you can throw yourselves on the mercy of the court? Good luck! This portion deleted for violating the blog’s policy against personal attacks.

        Now, if you or Brackin-Johnson can cite precedent where a COURT granted amnesty for fines and penalties when a strike was settled, I’d be more than happy to review it. Me thinks, however, you will be unable to cite legal precedent for your wishful thinking.

        Amber, all the KEA is doing is going on wishful thinking. There is not Washington State court precedent for amnesty in teachers strikes when the COURT was imposing the fine…at least that I’ve been able find.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        “I’m no lawyer”, but allow me to give my legal opinion….

        I quote the WEA lawyers, based upon what they have told KEA’s strike captains directly. Where do you get your information?

  32. LovesToTeach Says:

    I want to start out by letting you know that I have been standing beside my colleagues every step of the way. I have held picket signs and walked each day. I understand that we voted to defy the injunction until an agreement is reached. I do however feel it is time to reach an agreement. It sounded from your video that we had made good progress with everything but meetings. E-mails from other organizations are nice and comforting, but I do not believe they will help us to get back to school and save our jobs and health. I am not talking about losing benefits–I realize we won’t for now. I am talking about the sleepless nights and stress related health issues due to striking after a judge has ruled against us. Based on 1,800 teachers, the court fines that Washington State will be wanting to collect could amount to $360,000.00 per day. I do not think Washington State will let that go even if we settle the contract at some future date. This is a new day with computers that can very easily send out fines or bench warrants to each and every one of us. And the state would benefit from collecting the funds. The state will want its pound of flesh. I also do not believe KSD would budge on paying for us, since they already do not want to pay proper wages or give proper funding for schools—and this is a great deal of money (Over a million for just the past three days). Back in the 70s the air traffic controllers lost their jobs over defying a court injunction to return to work. A friend of ours lost his career. He was young enough to start over and is now a lawyer. Many of us do not have the time to change careers. It is also a gamble, not knowing how many teachers will stay strong on Monday, willing to risk losing it all. If several cross, the rest can be replaced. I know there are parents that will voice opinions and stand up for the teachers, should they try to replace the ones that stay strong. I just don’t know if it will do any good. I see a possibility of us being replaced. Eventually new bonds are formed and maybe we will be forgotten. I am sure that all of my claims can be disputed, but I do believe that it is important for our members to hear the ‘down side’ as well. I think we are dealing with a very nasty mean spirited district, and they now have the law on their side.

    I ask once again for KEA to please consider the last offer of the district, so we can return to work on Monday, as the judge has ordered.

  33. freemarketeducation Says:


    If it were possible, would the Union agree to binding arbitration just as police and firefighters do? I read in a news report that teacher’s unions do not fall under that guideline.

  34. LovesToTeach Says:

    I noticed the KEA response to the blog that indicated that Fire and Police can have binding arbitration because they can’t strike. School Employees can’t have binding arbitration because they can strike. Since the court has deemed our strike illegal, we should now be able to ask for binding arbitration. I would appreciate KEA lawyers looking into this.

    • freemarketeducation Says:

      thank you. you are exactly right. i voted against the strike, and i will continue to show up to school. the union should demand binding arbitration!

      • National Board Certified Teacher Says:

        From what case law are you referencing binding arbitration as an option for this teacher strike? If this were a feasible option, don’t you think it would have been brought up by KEA, KSD or the media? It has not, because it is not an option pertinent to this situation.

  35. KentParent Says:

    Dear Teachers: I’m a parent in the district and my son is waiting to start Kindergarten. I want you to know that I am in complete support of your cause (though I haven’t always agreed with the way your union has handled the PR side of things). I also want you to know that if you don’t have a contract by Tuesday and the district decides to start school anyway (with subs or teachers who’ve crossed the line), my son WILL NOT be there. Understand, both my son and I are really excited for him to start school but I WILL NOT send him until his teacher is there under contract. To be clear, I am not disrespecting subs or teachers who may cross the line. I have much respect for every teacher and my heart goes out to each of you as you and your families make a very difficult and personal decision. And I have nothing against subs either. I’m just letting you know that I have made a decision that one way I can support your efforts to improve my son’s education is to make sure that he is not in school until you are.

  36. newkentteacher Says:

    I am a new teacher in the Kent district, however have been teaching for several years and have never been faced with such a hard professional decision. In other districts I have taught classes with 38+ students and understand the burden that it places on equitable education. After reading through all of the comments on this blog in addition to other comments on news articles I feel that it is in the best interest of all KEA members to have a meeting on Sunday evening. Whether or not we have to vote on anything is irrelevant. I know that I am personally dealing with an internal struggle over what decision to make. I understand that we should stand strong, however; am not confident in the total numbers of teachers willing to take that step. There has been some conversation in the fact that it is possible that KEA is not necessarily fully representing all situations and consequences adequately. At this point I feel that there are many of us that have questions and would like face to face answers, and to even see a showing of hands of the people that are still committed even if their finances are on the line, which from the last update from KEA is not very reassuring. I would like to hear a definite reassuring perspective; a lot of what we are hearing is hypothetical and does not feel settling. I would like to start the year on a positive note and feel strong collaboration with my colleagues which I have had the opportunity to build amazing relationships with in the past few weeks, however; I do not know how long this is going to continue and I do have a family to feed.

  37. Suzanne Says:

    It sounds to me like there is a lot of waffling going on. I am actually surprised by all the wafflers. I really hope that this means you take part in what you are fighting for..an active part, and instead of feeling like you are having to wafffle, you can feel like you are taking charge. I know I had a question and went right to the school board and got an *immediate* response. I bet if you have concerns on the injunction being upheld you could talk to the judge. I’d be concerned as well if I were in danger of losing $1200 alone on Monday… Easy for the Union to not worry about it when they have all of your union dollars you’ve paid them for this…different when it’s out of your own pocket.

    As a parent I am glad to see the wafflers on the teachers side because to me that means they are thinking for themselves, and I hope they take action with that.

  38. Karen Says:

    Dear Members,

    Let all our energy result in what will be the beginning of PROGRESS. STAND STRONG and we will be able to work toward improving the quality of education in Kent with each additional contract. Back down now and the conditions of the educational environment can only deteriorate. Doing the right thing is seldom easy. In the end, teachers will be the variable that will rebuild the relationships needed to heal.

  39. Got boxes? Says:

    The district is consistently letting us down. I don’t trust them to do anything that will be beneficial for kids at this point.

    After meeting with Jim Berrios on Friday and receiving the news (through robocalls) that KSD wants school to start on TUESDAY, not Monday, I think there is reason to hold out hope for going back to work on Monday. Mr. Berrios stated that bargaining teams will be working separately today to discuss proposals and numbers. Then both teams will work a very long day on Sunday, implying that they will be working until a tentative agreement is reached. If that’s the case, then we MAY be meeting Sunday night to ratify a tentative agreement.

    Because I know we can’t trust the district, this could just be another set up for false hope. Based on the email from Lisa today, it looks like today was just another day of bargaining. No agreements have been reached.

    Let’s keep our eyes on the ball tomorrow. I know we can’t know what’s going on with negotiations, but be prepared to act.

  40. Concerned Says:

    Another rally, another community meeting? How much more is there to say? It is obvious by the emails from the KEA President today–one to plead with the union to stay the course, the other to ask for donations to keep the fight going–that she believes there won’t be a need to meet to vote on a contract because she already believes this won’t be settled. So it’s better to meet and cheer and clap and pat each other on the back instead of getting this over and done with. I don’t think one more pep rally is going to make me believe that the strike was really in the best interest of the students.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The rally is vital for those teachers who are very worried about the solidarity of the union at this point. Rumors are flying that are scaring a lot of people. The more show for the rally on Sunday, the more we will be together come Monday. What will the District do when yet again they fail to break us, and we continue to stay out on strike as we continue waiting for a fair and reasonable settlement? The average member cannot control what happens at the Bargaining Table, but their continued support for the Bargaining Team is what gives the KEA a fighting chance at getting a bargain done. If our resolve sags, then there is no pressure on the District to compromise. Lots of strike opponents on this blog like to say that teachers are holding the kids hostage. I say it is the District who holds us all hostage. They have had plenty of chances to end this strike, but have chosen to stall, play games, and intimidate.

      Maybe you should come to the rally, talk to those who attend, and change what you are “Concerned” about.

  41. National Board Certified Teacher Says:

    I just finished reading the current KSD proposal. It still contains the following statement under the class size proposal:

    If it becomes necessary to implement Article VII, Section 8 (layoff language), of this Agreement, it is understood that this section, Article VII, Section 2 class size reduction language), is not applicable.

    This basically translates to “if KSD feels like it, KSD can layoff one teacher and not have to abide by this class size agreement.” This is what I believe people are calling the poison pill clause. Why does the KSD cling so tightly to this? I guess the answer again returns to CONTROL.

    It is difficult to trust that the KSD will not invoke this clause at will every single year simple because of its track record of disrespecting and controlling its employees….I suspect this clause is one of the sticking points KEA would like to see taken out.

    Additionally, I am not really seeing how 1/2 day of a substitute teacher is going to help me in an overcrowded classroom. Nor do I see the benefits of a paraeducator (nothing against them or the work they do) in a classroom that could conceivably be so large that the students either do not have desks or even chairs (yes, it does happen!).

    Lastly, why won’t KSD be transparent by providing class size cost calculations? I am assuming they still haven’t provided this.

  42. Jimmy Hoffa Says:

    Not sure how Washington chopping down a cherry tree and not lying about it; or Lincoln reading the Gettysburg address, or learning to read by candlelight would fire up a football team…but…hey…

    My point is, what you are fighting for is no where close to what Ghandi (unbelievable you now invoke his name!) or MLK were fighting for. It trivializes their work, and I’m shocked and baffled how you cannot see that. And in Jan during MLK day, if I have to hear my kid come home and tell me about what his teachers was doing during the strike was the same thing MLK was when they were on strike, I’m pulling him out of school for that week. I hope the KEA doesn’t DARE try to teach their version of moral equivalency during MLK week. I

    No, the more appropriate analogy would be the 60’s hippies willing to go to jail because they couldn’t smoke dope on campus.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Allow me first to be a history teacher, and explode a myth that I personally don’t care for. Washington chopping the cherry tree was a myth devised in the late 19th century for primary school books aimed at showing the morals of our founding fathers. It was mainly targeted at Eastern European immigrants fleeing from oppressive governments, as a way to combat angst and mistrust against our form of government. “Lies My Teacher Told Me” is a great book on the subject I would suggest to you.

      Again, you are claiming we are arguing moral equivalency, when we are not. We are saying that we are following the example of great men, learning from their example, and applying their philosophy to our own lives. I’m sorry you don’t seem to understand that.

      Frankly, this argument is boring.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Thank you for the history lesson. I’m well aware of the myth, thank you. I’ll gladly match history wits with you any day. My point was to illustrate the ridiculousness of your example

        You say you are not arguing moral equivalency but in the very next sentence you explain you are doing just that. Look,I have no problem with you attempt to somehow find some higher cause for justifying your breaking the law and defying a court order. I do have a problem with you using men far greater than anyone in the KEA as an example. You find the argument boring because is shows how weak your argument is.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        “I do have a problem with you using men far greater than anyone in the KEA as an example.”

        Sort of like calling yourself Jimmy Hoffa or Lech Walesa?

      • Resolute Says:

        I’m a clarinet player. Just because I listen to and try to emulate Stanley Drucker and Richard Stolzman, does not mean I expect to win a seat with the New York Philharmonic. Just because we find inspiration in the examples left for us by MLK and other leaders in civil rights does not mean we are equaling our fight to his.

      • Ban the troll Says:

        Seriously – by giving voice to “Jimmy Hoffa” and even responding to his rants just further adds fuel to the fire. Where I recognize that varying points of view helps to give informed decision making, this person is obviously using this forum to demonstrate his perceived genius. As a truly concerned parent, frankly I’m tired of his posts clogging up the blog. And I’m tired of the bickering.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    these rumors about the impossibility of amnesty and the claims that the courts fines will be imposed no matter what the district and the union agree to are so obviously an intimidation tactic that everyone who hears them should be angry at the people who have told them this.

    have your strike captains put your concerns to the union lawyer, they’ll explain how contempt of court works in a civil action and you will see that all of this talk about amnesty not being available is just that, talk.

    • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

      I’m not saying that amnesty is not an option. The court can pretty much do whatever it wants in this case. I’m saying there is no precedent in teacher’s strikes in Washington State for the courts granting amnesty for fines AFTER the court order has been defied. So, assuming that all will be forgiven is, at this point, just talk as well.

      I two of the most recent cases – Marysville and Issaquah, the court did threaten fines. And while Issaquah decided to defy the court order, they quickly got their minds right and agreed to go back to work before the deadline to impose fines. Marysville was even smarter and came to an agreement for the deadline to return to work passed. For some reason the KEA thinks nothing is going to happen when in fact there is no legal precedent on which to base that opinion.
      Because as we can see, in the two more recent cases the unions were smart enough to not test the court.

  44. Jimmy Hoffa Says:

    thats my point. I’ve been unable to find legal precedent where a court granted amnesty to a union for deliberately defying a court order. You WEA lawyers can say anything and you guys will seem to take it as gospel. Did your WEA lawyers cite ANY case law to support their positing. “Where did I get my information”???? I don’t have any evidence of stare decisis. That’s my point!!!! And I’m willing to bet neither does your WEA lawyer. If he does, ask him to cite it. At least for Amber’s sake. Instead of possibly giving her false hope.

    I use the thing called “the google”. It’s some kind of web page thingy in which you can type words and phrases and it goes out to the intertubes and finds information you a looking for. I’ve looked all through case law in Washington and have found no evidence of courts granting amnesty to teachers unions for fines imposed on them AFTER their court deadline has passed. THAT’s where I get my evidence…or more to the point…the lack thereof. Again, I would challenge your WEA lawyer to cite case law where a COURT, not a district, granted amnesty. Lawyers are not infallible. They give bad advice all the time. See: O.J. v State of California, Carl Douglas, glove.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      I would say that if Amber has the question she should contact the WEA legal department. I’m not going to waste their time for the sake of a blog entry.

      • Jimmy Hoffa Says:

        Look, you could have just said “I didn’t bother to ask the lawyer for details. I just took him at his word because he’s the WEA lawyer, so why would he mislead us?”

    • teacherpride Says:

      Jimmy: Who are you? What is your interest in this matter? Why are you so venomous? Are you a KSD administrator? Has google granted you some sort of special legal research license? You know what. Don’t bother responding to my questions. I have a new policy to skip anything posted by you and just read things from people who are asking relevant questions (once), engaging in thoughtful, although not easy dialogue, and generally just nicer people. I hope you find some happiness in your life.

      • National Board Certified Teacher Says:

        teacherpride…exactly! a lot of us have already done that! skipping past the fabricated negativity of JH helps me get to the more substantial stuff faster.

    • searchingaswell Says:

      I have also been searching WA case law and “google” and other sources, I can only find that in Washington teachers have always gone back to work before the Courts have had to actually impose fines. There are a lot of us reading this I am pleading for anyone to post a link to anything that is relevant to the fines being waived by the courts.

  45. KentTeacher Says:

    I am a kent teacher who choose to go back to work on Tuesday when we were court ordered to do so. I for one am suprised at the number of teachers that so far have held strong to “doing the right thing” by striking. I was there for the vote on Monday night and heard everything that KEA had said about the judge’s ruling on fines. It was made clear to me what would happen (fines) and I made my decision that night to return to work. Now that KEA’s prediction was made a reality you are “scared”. I think people should have thought about the consequences of their actions that night instead of now. With all of these worried comments it makes the KEA members look weak and indecisive. You made your decision last Monday now suck it up and stand strong. By the way my decision to go back to work was a moral one not a financial one. I believe KEA is right that teachers will not pay the fines.

  46. Parent of 8 Says:

    After reading the blog messages the most important advice I can give to the teachers is to PLEASE STAY STRONG!! It seems to me that your union leaders know what they are doing and they have your best interest at heart because it directly affects the children. They will not let you down and I ask you to please stay strong for your students. My son and I have been to a rally and we both are learning first hand about strikes and the struggles in schools to improve education. I am so proud of the teachers for taking a stand and being so strong. There is more good coming out of this than even hoped for. Even though my son is not in his classes his teachers are teaching him by example that we must stand up for our beliefs. Thank you.

  47. libby3725 Says:

    I would love to know if there is a strike fund I can make a donation to. I am an NEA member in NY and would love to help out however I can.

  48. Another Parent who's disappointed Says:

    I’m concerned about our community. There are two issues that are dividing us. The first is the negotiations between the Kent School District and the Kent Education Association. The second is the strike. I think that because someone is against the strike, others think they are against the teachers. Others think that because you are for the teachers, you have to be against the district. Why does it have to be absolutes? Why can’t someone support the teachers yet don’t support the strike? Why can’t people think that both the district and the teachers want the best for our children?
    I support the teachers. I also support the district. I don’t support the strike and I absolutely don’t support the union leadership. I place the blame for all the fractures in this community squarely on their shoulders. They didn’t have to be manipulative and force the strike. They knew it was wrong when they played that hand. They lost. And by continuing to try to force that hand to be a ‘winning hand’ they are losing the backing of many in the community.
    If the teachers want to help mend this community, they can return to the classroom. Continue with the negotiations. Consider it an olive branch. The students would thank you. The parents would thank you.

  49. Kent teacher Says:

    I tired of the mud slinging from both the KSD and the KEA nothing good will become.

  50. Kent teacher Says:

    Ordered to pay fine, the Judge will not need to have a time line it could be next week or 4 years
    If you go to another district or retire the KEA attorney will not defend you.

  51. back to school Says:

    To pay or not to pay it would be a hardship to pay

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