Bargaining Update For Saturday, Sept. 12

Should we stay or should we go?
That’s the question that each of us is asking ourselves as Monday’s deadline looms to return to class.
The district is counting on you to go across picket lines, to go against all your days on the line standing up for smaller classes, to go quietly back behind your classroom doors so they can continue to dominate and intimidate.
The district is consistent. From the first day of bargaining last April, district administrators have misread our resolve.
They didn’t believe we would rise up when they announced they were taking away seven days’ pay and linking our evaluations to WASL scores.
They predicted we wouldn’t have the unity to strike even when they told us budget cuts meant they wouldn’t deal with class sizes for years to come.
They suggested to local reporters that our picket lines would collapse a few days into the strike.
They thought we’d crumble in fear instead of storming the room to protest when Supt. Vargas announced he would haul his own teachers into court.
They thought they could manipulate the courts to end a strike that must instead be resolved at the bargaining table.
They tried to bully pregnant moms into believing they wouldn’t have insurance when they stepped inside the delivery room. But our members got on their phones and convinced Group Health officials to guarantee the same continuation of coverage for their members that already is provided during strikes under WEA’s Premera plans.
Even now, the district thinks the renewed threat of fines will cause us to forget why we launched this battle. They’ve sent e-mails gloating about how our picket lines and our bargaining power will crumble on Monday. They’ve posted reader boards announcing that schools will reopen Tuesday, apparently without teachers, given our vote making it clear we will return only when we have a ratified contract.
Have our members given up?
KEA had extended an offer to keep our office open today to answer questions from all members who were beginning to question their own resolve. By early afternoon, two members had come in.
The district has been slow to understand our power and our unity. But look at what’s already happened. The district tried to frame this as all about money. Parents get that this dispute is about class size and time with kids. The district tried to shut down our strike before our message could spread into our own community. Instead, our stand has now become a national news story. The headline in Friday’s New York Times: “Teacher Strike in Washington Focused on Class Size.” Becky Hanks tried to convince reporters that our proposal Thursday, which could have ended the strike immediately, cost $5 million more than what we said. But her message all but disappeared from the airwaves once KEA’s Bargaining Team made it clear that it was Hanks who was putting out the phony numbers.
Even without a settlement in hand, the district can no longer ignore our power. We have stood together and stood strong in the face of the most nasty threats, and smears, and insults, and intimidation our administrators can spew forth. We have focused the public conversation on class size and time with kids, and the community is on our side.
As the School Board tries to hide from us and the community, parents have become even more inflamed. A nascent network of online organizing has already generated hundreds upon hundreds of petition signatures to recall all five Kent School Board members, and the effort is not yet three days old. Parents are directly confronting board members in the community, asking why they won’t deal with these issues squarely at the bargaining table.
The tide is turning, and will continue to turn. What we win in this contract will become the foundation for future contracts. Districts that have pulled ahead of Kent did not do so in one bargaining season. They’ve made incremental gains year after year once their unity convinced their districts to listen to, and respect, the concerns they bring to the bargaining table.
Are we ready to give up?
That is a question each of us must answer ourselves Tuesday morning as we continue our quest for smaller classes, more time with students, and competitive compensation.
Attend our 6:30 Sunday night rally
KEA members and school supporters around the region are invited to a 6:30 p.m. rally at Town Square Plaza (also known as “Marble Park”) at Second Avenue and West Smith Street, across from the downtown library. It’s yet one more reminder we are not alone.
Bargaining Update
Teams for KEA and KSD returned to the bargaining table Saturday, and were back at the table again this morning. Talks are continuing with discussions on both sides. The district appears to be backing away from its earlier assertions that our proposal on Thursday cost $5 million more than KEA had announced. No new tentative agreements had been reached as of early Saturday afternoon.
What about the fines?
School districts historically have agreed to ask the courts to drop fines once classes resume because it’s important for operations to return to as normal as possible so that students’ education can get back on track. But a concern has arisen that Kent administrators like Chuck Lind and Larry Miner have made it clear that their priority is power, not student achievement, and they might be filled with such irrational venom that they would continue to try to smear Kent’s teachers no matter how much damage that causes within the community.
It’s a legitimate concern, so let’s assume the worst does happen:
The district can’t ignore parents forever, and the School Board can’t cancel all its public meetings indefinitely. They will have to defend spending tax money needed in the classroom to continue a petty and vindictive fight against their own teachers even after the strike is settled. We have a right to due process before fines can be assessed. Our union has vowed to step in with legal support to demand hearings, forcing the district to provide sworn testimony about which teachers crossed the lines, which days they crossed and numerous other details that would be critical for the assessment of fines. Independently of the district, the judge has the power to reduce or remove fines based on mitigating factors. Our union has prepared an answer to the injunction lawsuit that outlines in detail the district’s numerous violations of good-faith bargaining and its deliberate strategy to try to intimidate teachers into returning to school.
The court gave administrators a heavy club to use against its own teachers. But wielding that club may not be as easy as they imagined after we have our day in court.

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41 Responses to “Bargaining Update For Saturday, Sept. 12”

  1. Tom Larsen, KW Says:

    http://vlex.com/vid/durrett-vs-vargas-19980901

    Vargas isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. I found this before he was hired, and brought it to the Boards’ attention. They assured me he was thoroughly vetted, and were aware of the issues in his past. I found many other examples from various back issues of newspapers of where Vargas had been disciplined, had problems with his School Board, had problems with his union, etc.

    Now I’m having my doubts that he is the right man to be my boss and that the Board really did its job when they hired him.

    Dr. Vargas and School Board, prove me wrong and get this contract settled right away!

  2. Julia Says:

    I’m a single parent of two KSD students. One child has been passed through the system and hasn’t mastered 1st grade skills. This child is overwhelmed and doesn’t like school. This child has been in classroom sizes of 18 and no more than 20 students. I begged for my child to be held back – but was dismissed by two different teachers.

    I hold a full-time job that requires me to commute, in the evening my child is tired and misses time with the only parent and doesn’t want to work on studies.

    I’ve never felt a parent – teacher connection and the classroom size apparently isn’t the problem or resolve. But my child is the one who suffers.

    We are in a recession. My workload is increased 10-fold, my pay hasn’t increased and I lost my bonuses for this year and most likely next year. My company has had many layoffs and more coming. I won’t complain because in a time of recession we pull together as a community – not rip it apart with strikes and chaos.

    Clearly, this situation is not being handled appropriately and evidently, we have laws in place and they aren’t enforced. Seems to be a theme in Washington – situational ethics?

    This strike is having a devastating impact to my children and our family. In the last 3 days my children are ‘in strike’ whenever I say something they don’t agree with. While this behavior isn’t new, it is excalating. “Look Mom, we’re on ‘strike’ – we don’t HAVE to follow the rules”.

    There is a lot of bullying going on from both sides leaving imprints on impressionable minds and creating community chaos. Who pays for that in the end? My children – Your children – Our children.

    • Malega Says:

      This portion of the comment deleted for violation of blog policy against personal attacks.
      …..don’t you dare blame a group of dedicated professionals, sacrificing to keep classrooms at reasonable sizes for all of our children, for your child’s behavior issues. I taught my daughter many years ago, that adults have priviledges and battles they must fight, that thankfully children don’t have to. I have taught my daughter that if a rule or law is wrong, and hurts many people, that the rule or law must be challenged which is never easy. Why don’t you sit down with your children and explain to them that it sometimes takes courageous actions of individuals to be sure everyone has what they deserve. When Hitler was in charge of Nazi Germany, it was legal to gas people and put their bodies in mass graves. Challenging poor decisions and leadership that is hurting all of our children by putting them in large classrooms with only one teacher, is the responsibility of the adults in our community. Thank God these teachers care enough about our children to risk their financial well-being to insure we all have safe and manageable classrooms, not big zoo rooms where no kid can learn. Maybe your kids should be looking at you and asking why you aren’t helping their teachers do what is right for all the children in the district.

    • MyKidIsNotYourPawn Says:

      Amen and well said Julia, I believe many parents agree with you! Good for you for having the courage to post this reality-check.

  3. Reality Says:

    Going back to work Monday is NOT the same as giving up. It means taking the battle to a different front. This is NOT a short term affair that will be resolved with everybody happy in a few days or weeks.

    The latest KEA proposal is much watered down from the first objectives we were fighting for and the difference between it and the KSD proposal is hardly worth defiance of the judge, the injunction and the law. Its the teachers that are being hurt by this, not the district, not even the union, just the teachers.

    Go back to work. Do NOT ratify a worthless contract. If you have to work without a contract do so. CONTINUE the fight through the realms of politics, labor relations and the court – for as long as it takes. But theres’s no sense in leaving ourselves vulnerable to the districts deplorable tactics by violating the law and needlessly risking/expending our limited resources.

    The district can go on like this for a long time. Time is on their side! the majority of the public and the majority of parents will be with THEM in short order. The union might enjoy the publicity and the media interviews and the visits from around the country to carry on :the fight”, but we are here and we want go back to school and teach!

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      You could not be more wrong. The fight is over once the picket line comes down. If we work without a contract, it will be financially disastrous to many of our members, and the District will not be held to the contract because the grievance process will be dismantled. The contract proposals you have read are not what is currently being discussed at the table. They became outdated the moment bargaining began again on Friday.

      • ConcernedinKent Says:

        The current proposals from the KEA and KSD on 9/12/09 state the following in regards to class size:

        KEA KSD
        Kinder. 24
        Grades 1-3 25 25 (k-3)
        Grades 4-6 29 29
        Grades 7-8 147 145
        Grades 9-12 157 155

        If indeed this is about class size why isn’t this contract being jumped at? The KSD is offering you almost exactly what you want and then some as seen by these numbers. So what is the dilema? Please explain this to all the confused parents.

      • ConcernedinKent Says:

        The current proposals from the KEA and KSD on 9/12/09 state the following in regards to class size:

        KEA
        Kinder. 24
        Grades 1-3 25
        Grades 4-6 29
        Grades 7-8 147
        Grades 9-12 157

        KSD
        Grades K-3 25
        Grades 4-6 29
        Grades 7-8 145
        Grades 9-12 155

        If indeed this is about class size why isn’t this contract being jumped at? The KSD is offering you almost exactly what you want and then some as seen by these numbers. So what is the dilema? Please explain this to all the confused parents.

      • Kent Teacher Says:

        Financially disastrous? Give me a break. You could not be more wrong.
        Intentional defiance of a court order based on the belief that it will be incredibly difficult for the district/court to prove the infractions and collect the fines is a swell way to proceed. Way to take the high ground. In reality, all you’ll be doing is subjecting the violators to enormous attorney’s fees as fees and additional sanctions will be assessed as part of the process.
        Lastly, love that bit about how the district has underestimated “your power.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
        Sorry, one more thing. Have your rally, your chants, your secret emails, your recall petitions, etc. It doesn’t matter. In general, the public can’t stand the union.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Good luck in your future career as an administrator.

      • JLR Says:

        KEA,
        How will it be financially disastrous to your members? You need to explain that one. Can your union NOT effectively bargain without striking? Sounds pretty weak to me.

        The fight only really BEGINS after the picket lines come down. How many levies do you think the Kent taxpayers will support once the strike is over? Any goodwill the community has to help support legislative efforts for teachers is quickly evaporating.
        JLR

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Given that you have insulted me and my fellow teachers for the last several comments, I don’t really see a need to answer your questions.

  4. LovesToTeach Says:

    ??”KEA had extended an offer to keep our office open today to answer questions from all members who were beginning to question their own resolve. By early afternoon, two members had come in.”??Something is wrong here. I would bet based on last night’s blog under ‘United We Stand” that there would have been far more people going into the KEA office with questions, if only it had been better advertised. I for one, was not made aware of this opportunity until it was too late. I tried to e-mail Lisa, and tried to get some contact list, but received no response. Now I know they are busy, and the only reason I e-mailed Lisa was that that was my only contact to a KEA leader, but I felt there needed to be someone out there to get the message out for me to have my questions answered. I definitely have questions and need a KEA leader with accurate knowledge to answer them. I have been at every single event and online to the site, and somehow never heard about the office being open for questions until it was too late. I need to talk to a KEA Leader today. I am being left in the dark on some key issues. If KEA wants me to continue to stand by my colleagues, someone needs to do me the favor of letting me have some questions answered– not with opinions of most likely, but with the worse case scenario. For example, I am one of the veteran teachers on plan one with two years to go before retirement. Should this deal go south, will I lose my retirement? Even though, I do not want to break the law, and think we should just call it a day and try again with better tactics in two years, I have stood by my colleagues in order to not weaken their cause. But losing my retirement would be a definite deal breaker. I really need some reassurance, since as of now I am willing to give up my job and thousands of dollars to stand by my colleagues–but I cannot lose my retirement.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      The KEA office should have people there again Sunday. If not, leave a note and someone will call you. Lisa’s email is probably very full, so you may not get a timely answer. Do you have any colleagues who can give you your picket captain’s number?

      Your retirement is not in jeopardy. Who told you that it was?

      • LovesToTeach Says:

        I looked up my TRS Plan one information. It looked like the information said if I left early, I would receive no benefits. Plan One is entirely different that the other plans. I am too close to lose it all. I will check with the KEA office right now.
        Thank you.

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      Veteran teachers, do the math. Add up the 35 hours of Teacher Effective Ed, the 15 hours of Principal Effective Ed, the 7.5 of Professional Improvement hours, your commitment stipend, your longevity stipend, and multiply it by your hourly rate. If you coach music, theater, debate, or any other non-sports related activity, don’t forget to add in that stipend. Now that you have your total, divide it by 200. That’s how many days of striking it would take before your fines–ASSUMING THEY ARE EVEN LEVIED AGAINST YOU AT ALL–would exceed the money you stand to lose if you return without a contract. Also, you would no longer have JOB SECURITY and no way to grieve it. WHY WOULD YOU EVEN CONSIDER CROSSING THE PICKET LINE??????

      Furthermore, the district could decide that since you broke the law to strike they could fire you at the semester and YOU WOULD HAVE NO DUE PROCESS. How would THAT affect your retirement?

      I can understand a young teacher being conflicted, but I have no patience for veteran teachers who have not done their homework. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

      One more thing–if you aren’t willing to do this for yourself, do it for those kids who need those lower class sizes and access to their teachers. If you don’t stand up for them, who will? They have no power to change this. WE DO–IF WE STICK TOGETHER.

  5. K_S_D Teacher Says:

    Someone please dispute me on the fact that the 9/11/09 KSD offer is that bad. I mean compare it to the KEA 9/10/09 offer like I did and then discuss. It doesn’t look too far off to me. Not so sure that there is anything there worth pressing my luck for.

    • Resolute Says:

      If it becomes necessary to implement Article VII, Section 8, of this Agreement, it is understood that this section, Article VII, Section 2, is not applicable.

      That language is why that proposal is unacceptable. It means that if the district lays off teachers or loses funding all that language on class sizes becomes “not applicable” and the district can continue as it has. Since those situations have already occured this last year, the district could sign the contract and ignore it.

    • confused Says:

      I won’t dispute you at all as it provides caps, more money and the extra teacher-directed late start/early dismissal days. Aren’t these all of the things that we have been striking for? When I emailed Lisa Brackin-Johnson and asked her what the union’s position on the new proposal was, I received no response. Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm. I presumed that since the Seattle Times ran a story on the latest proposal, the KEA website would have something about the new proposal posted on its website.. I am just really surprised that there has been no word about this new proposal from the union. It seems like it would be (at the very least) a worthy blog post.

      • kenteducationassociation Says:

        Lisa is up to her eyeballs in emails right now, so if she hasn’t responded to you right away, please be patient. KEA’s team is made up almost entirely of volunteers, so if we don’t get the website updated as often as you’d like, I’m sorry.

    • Barbara Says:

      Even if KSD and KEA are close in class size numbers…if KSD’s proposal has no remedy clause if they go over the cap, then what’s the point of having one. We need something in the contract that forces them to address large class sizes and fix them. A simple, “we’ll try to keep them there” or “a committee to look into it” is not good enough. KSD needs to step up to the plate and remedy the issues…

    • CounterpointSue Says:

      I’ll dispute it. As long as there’s any language that says that they don’t have to keep the class size caps in a year in which there are layoffs, it a deal breaker. They laid off several teachers this year. No sooner would we settle this contract than the class size caps section would be voided.

      READ EVERYTHING FOR CONTENT, AS IF YOU WERE GRADING A HIGH SCHOOL PERSUASIVE ESSAY.

  6. teacher/picket captain Says:

    I think it is important for people to take into consideration that some of the posts on this blog could be made by the same two or three people under different names.

    I caution everyone to take the amount of “support for” and “support against” comments with a grain of salt. It is very easy to get a couple people to fill up a blog site under various names to make it seem as if there are more people on one side of an issue when there really might not be.

    Also remember, that it is very easy to throw up comments meant to scare people or put doubt into your mind. There is no lie detector on here when you post something. Anyone can say anything and that is how rumors get started. A lot of rumors I have heard have been ones laced with underlying fear.

    Comments on the blog are in no way a good indicator of the feelings of the members as a whole. There are a small number of people that post here in comparison to the number of members we have.

    I am confident tha KEA does not use this blog as a way to “feel” out the members as it wouldn’t be a valid way to do that. (negative or positive) KEA gets a “feel” from the picket captains. The Picket captains get a feel from the members themselves. Trust me (yes I know that’s hard in this district), the picket captains are very honest and blunt with the information we bring from our members on the line. KEA is not under any illusions of any kind.

    KEA members, if you have questions or concerns, please speak to your picket captains before talking to other people who would not know the answer. It will help with keeping rumors under control.

    I have sat in enough meetings this last two weeks to say that when questions/concerns & rumors are brought up, they are taken very seriously and every effort is made to confirm or deny it. The legal team has been very honest with us and is working hard to find answers to questions being asked.

    It is hard not to be nervous when we don’t have all of the answers as quick as we want them. Please be patient. Not all the information on KSD or KEA sites are accurate and up to the minute. KSD has even said that about their site. People on both sides are doing the best they can to get out up to date information. With negotiations finally moving, things can be changing on an hour by hour basis.

    KEA spent two years collecting information from it’s members. They listened to stories and collected the issues that matter the most. They know how passionate we are about certain issues. Your bargaining team KNOWS what matters to you.

    • LovesToTeach Says:

      I truly wish that you are right about the Picket Captains telling how all of the members feel. But I think many are just painting a rosy picture and telling how the majority of the group feels.

    • LovesToTeach Says:

      I heard from a KEA/WEA leader today say, I’m not going to tell you that you won’t have to pay the fines.” Many KEA members are still under the illusion that fines will not have to be paid and will be forgiven.

    • coivintonguy Says:

      nice observation, I have posted under three different names. keeping the same name is boring!

  7. freemarketeducation Says:

    So, it is not about the money? Then why is this written in the top post?

    __________

    Are we ready to give up?
    That is a question each of us must answer ourselves Tuesday morning as we continue our quest for smaller classes, more time with students, and competitive compensation.

    __________

    I knew the union was not being upfront to its members from the start. Why is the WEA so involved? Is the KEA a tool now for the WEA in its quest for higher teacher pay? Is this one bigger union using a smaller union? Of course pay was an issue from the start. The KEA tried to convince its members that this was a noble cause, and to some small degree, it may be. But at the meeting to vote to defy the court order, people equated this struggle with that of Martin Luther King, Ghandi, and Jesus. Please. This is more and more seeming to be a power struggle between two groups. The union has made several deceptive messages to the members. I know because I have been paying attention.

    You have 75% of the membership stating that they will defy the court order. I am of the 25% that decided to follow the law. I showed up all last week and I will continue to show up to work. It was made known to me that my co-workers are going to give me a hard time. Great, that sounds real professional. If your 75% follows their moral compass, you have nothing to fear from the 25% that did show up. KSD can’t possibly replace that many teachers. Or, can they?

    WE NEED TO DEMAND FROM THE DISTRICT TO AGREE TO BINDING ARBITRATION. WE NEED TO DEMAND FROM POLITICIANS LIKE GOV. CHRISTINE AND SUP. OF PUB. INST. DORN THAT THIS IS NECESSARY.

    KEA, don’t simply reply to this by saying that arbitration is not an option. The unions got the governor elected and it is time to get her going. If you truly think the district is not bargaining in good faith, then an arbitrator will be on our side. Or, do you have other things you are not telling us?

  8. Auburn Teacher, KM class of 85 Says:

    Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you Kent educators! I just compared the KEA/KSD class size proposals. It makes me angry to see that kids in Kent don’t have the same opportunities that kids in other districts have. My son is in first grade in a Federal Way school. He currently has 20 classmates. Federal Way has decided to put money in the classroom instead of the bank! Don’t Kent kids deserve the same? We will be at the rally tonight to show our support!

  9. Arlena & Samantha Says:

    Should you stay or go?? I say “Teachers Stand Your Ground” I fear that if you buckle now then we may never reach our goals of “Educating our Kids with all the best and possible tools available to us” I have 1 child now in the Kent Schools (Special Ed). I also had an older daughter in the gifted program years ago and now her sons (my 2 grand kids) are in school. I have made several requests to KSD and KEA to please show us parents accurate bargaining proposals side by side. So that the average person is able to truly evaluate for them selves the issues at hand. As you know, it takes considerable time to print and few side by side as to really understand what the issues are.

  10. Still Questioning Says:

    I still fail to see much difference between the class size proposals both sides have offered. Can someone explain what the differences really are?

  11. Retired KSD Teacher Says:

    This portion deleted for violation of blog policy against personal attacks.

    Does your above post mean you will NOT be taking any of the benefits won by this contract when it’s settled since you won’t have any skin in the game? You will be willing to take the overloads and attend all the extra meaningless meetings in lieu of your colleagues? Don’t forget to give your small raise back as well, you know, the one you seem to think this strike is all about. Good luck bargaining all of those issues for yourself in the future.

    As a former KSD teacher, class size and mix has been an issue in this district for many years and has never been properly addressed. In fact, it’s a major reason I retired when I did almost ten years ago. It was obvious the only way it would be resolved was what a large majority of KEA members are doing right now. I remember many years of telling my bargaining team that class size and mix was a bigger issue than salary, and I meant it. Unfortunately, dealing with class size and mix now is due to the very lack of resolve that we collectively had as teachers years ago. For that I apologize!

    If you give up the fight now, this particular board and admin will rub your face in the dirt any time they get the chance. Yes, your’s too even though you’ve crossed the line. You’re right, this is a power struggle, but KEA happens to be on the right side of it. If you give up now, the next board will do the same thing. A message is being sent to the entire school district that teachers will no longer put up with this inane treatment any longer.

    I don’t have much money, but I will certainly throw my share into the kitty to help do what I can to make up for someone’s fine who is willing to stand up for an issue bigger than themself and take the heat from a minority of the community along with a few of their colleagues crossing picket lines to further cow tow to the board and admin.

    Stay strong teachers. Know that there are many of us out here who do understand your issues and will support you however we can! Teacher/picket captain is right–let them be your eyes and ears for rumor control. Many bloggers have nothing better to do that sit at their keyboards all day long being sanctimonious. It wouldn’t even surprise me if this board had trolls writing in to try to break your resolve.

    Like you, I too am interested in knowing whether the Education Governor and newly elected Sup’t of Public Instruction are weighing in on this. Didn’t Gov. Locke go to Marysville when they had their strike? How about a little leadership here as well.

  12. parent Says:

    Can you please give an update on the actual bargaining?? Are the two sides any closer or should we plan on another week of this? The district has posted their proposal on the website. In theory it looks good to me, can you tell us the KEA’s position to this? I am just looking for some REAL information on what is happening in the bargaining sessions.

    Thank you

  13. Another Parent Volunteer Says:

    – Teachers should return to work as per the judges order.
    – The School Board is not hiding from the community members. After a recent email to the school board I received two responses. They are reading every email.
    – Do not assume that the parents who you have not heard from support the teachers strike. I have found the opposite to be true, that many of my friends and neighbors who do NOT support the strike don’t want to make that public. For many of us even though we support teachers WE DO NOT support the strike. Yes there is a difference there!!
    – It is insulting to suggest that all of the negative to KEA posts on this blog are by one or two people. Couldn’t the same claim be made of the “pro – KEA” posts?? If you do not know it to be fact either way – then don’t post it.

  14. Margie Dugan Says:

    This is to Becky Hanks, spokeswoman for KSD:
    In today’s Seattle Times district officials were saying that $8.5 million is already committed to specific purposes from workers’compensation claims to books teachers have ordered. As a parent and teacher in this district I need our district to lay out EXACTLY what you have this money going towards AND also clarify for the parents and teachers what books we “supposedly” ordered. Are these curriculum based books that are required we teach our students. We all deserve to know the specific purposes KSD is using this large chunk of money.

  15. Eastern WA Teacher Says:

    To coin a student phrase, OMG! I glanced at your contract and cannot believe how bad it is. You have NO district incentives to control class size. A formula based on enrollment?? Parapro time if they go x amount of students over?? Where’s the incentive to hire more teachers? I have searched your website and see no max class size limits and, for secondary teachers, max. load limits. If you are over, you should get overage pay not just the addition of a Parapro. As an 8th grade teacher in my district, I will get $3 per student per day over. The district has 10 days to fix it, then I collect the pay retroactively until they do. Currently I am 5 students over and the clock is ticking. Even though it’s not enough to compensate me for the extra time it will take to accommodate these students with their learning, it is an incentive for the district to try to do something about it.

    Your plan time for your elementary teachers stinks, too. Look at the inequity. Your secondary teachers get around an hour a day to plan, yet your elementary teachers only get 30 (minus the time they walk students to and from their special). That 30/30 bar before and after school is taken up by meetings, parents, etc. It is not plan time. They should get paid the difference between their secondary counterparts and their time.

    Speaking of meetings, your admin can make you stay for a 60 minute staff meeting – 30 minutes after your contracted day is over – and not pay you for it?? Incredible!

    In another year or two I will be moving back to the west side to be with my family. I have 10 years of experience, have my Masters degree and am National Board certified. I like the Kent area, but I will NOT be looking for a job in your district. Your school board obviously does not respect its teachers. You don’t even have the basics.

    My heart goes out to you, and I hope your board and your community wakes up to the reality that you are not crying wolf.

  16. frustrated from the line Says:

    It’s Sunday afernoon and I am waiting for the call telling us to meet at Kentlake for a vote.

    While waiting I’ve taken the time to check my Facebook page and noticed something interesting. A member of my circle of friends has multiple “likes” from members of our bargaining team. SHOULDN’T they be bargaining? Isn’t this what they say the members that have crossed the line are in the building doing? Seems interesting that are bargaining team is doing the same thing.

  17. MoneyMan Says:

    I read more about wanting more money than I did about class sizes. Yet you continue to say this isn’t about money. A 4.5% raise is only 5 more days? You should be happy for a 3% raise in this economy. That 25% will keep their jobs while the other 75% will be adding to the already inflated unemployment rate. There are plenty of suitable teachers that will put aside their stubbornness and not let the KEA continue to bully them into thinking this is about class size.

    What happens when you do get a smaller class size and the WASL scores are the same, or even worse? What will you be seeking next?

    If you say it is for the children, then why are you letting 27,000 kids stay at home while you continue to picket for yourselves. If you don’t like the KSD than go to another district. But you can’t because of the economy. So take what you can get and slowly progress into what needs to be done. This is why most union contracts are only agreed upon for 1 to 2 years. The times do not allow for such drastic changes to be made overnight. Instead, fight for what you want in a reasonable manner and let it be known for future contracts.

    But I bet this post will be deleted. No negativity is allowed because KEA doesn’t want people to see the truth.

    The truth lies within the last two proposals. They are almost identical yet KEA doesn’t want it because it’s not enough “compensation”….or is it class size?

  18. K_S_D Teacher Says:

    SOMEONE, ANYONE, tell me why the spot we have bargained to is not enough. I’m not so sure there is a “good” reason to stay out. If there is, I don’t see it. Not when I looked at the proposals, and less and less in my battling conscience.

    If it is good enough, the bargaining team needs to bring it to us!!!

    What are we holding out for? Are we waiting to hold that upper hand once the district has used their “last bullet?” Then go to beating them down to submission? Do we need to go that far?

    Again just my $.02

  19. weary specialist Says:

    I don’t feel the district is bargaining in good faith. I have not seen one proposal from them that addresses all of the points we are fighting for. For example, there is a minority of speial ed. teachers, psychologists, nurses and counselors that have not had their caseloads addressed by anyone but our bargaining team. The district has only made offers for homeroom type classes. Those of us who have a caseload instead of a class really need the support of all KEA members to for once, have a limit on caseloads. For years I have had a large caseload compared to others in the district. Last year I stopped counting when my caseload was over 50. Did the district listen? Not really, after two or three months of ignoring our emails (not even acknowledging they recieved them), our principal fighting for us, we were offered more aide time. (This doesn’t take care of the paperwork/meeting issues) which we declined and demanded another teacher. Finally, after much pressure on our part, my teaching partner and I were informed we were getting another teacher. Of course, that person was on staff 2 weeks before Spring break and then we WASL tested for a month. A lot of good it does to get help at the end of March.

    We used the reccommended research based materials that we were required to use. Of course these materials are ment to be used with groups of 6 or less, not 6 to 14 students in a group.

    Under the old contract I did get a stipend for writing IEP’s, but that stipend is the same whether I write 20 IEPs or 70 IEPs each year. If I go back to work that pay is probably no longer available to me due to the sunset clause.

    I will NOT go back to work under any circumstance without a contract that addresses the issues concerning ALL of us. If I do what was the last few weeks all about? I hope that my peers will see that there is a minority that keeps getting this issue passed by on contract after contract and by the district administration. We need to stay strong and keep fighting.

  20. Kent Mom Says:

    “it will be financially disastrous to many of our members” – this says it all.

    it is all about the money.

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