District Creates Roadblock in “Race to the Top”

Rejecting a cooperative approach offered by the Kent Education Association, district officials have erected an unnecessary barrier in the Race to the Top (RTTT) grant application process. RTTT is a new federal grant program that provides a modest amount of new money to school districts, but requires changes in programs. Some of these program changes may be in conflict with existing collective bargaining agreements, and the application form asks for the signature and cooperation of the local union president, possibly leading to the reopening of portions of the contract.

KEA President Lisa Brackin Johnson has met with district officials and offered to co-sign the RTTT grant application. In order to preserve our bargaining rights, KEA has asked that the district in turn sign a one page statement promising to negotiate any changes in the contract before enacting those changes. The district has refused to agree to honor the Association’s rights and crossed out many of the statements in the proposed statement. In contrast, many other districts in our area have recognized the importance of working with their teachers in making any changes, and have gladly signed similar partnership agreements.

Lisa is continuing to talk with the administration, and remains willing to co-sign the RTTT grant application on behalf of KEA if the district provides assurance that they will respect our legal bargaining rights. At this point, an agreement seems unlikely, and it appears that the district prefers making an attempt to undermine the rights of teachers rather than work with us as partners to seek additional federal funding. Without the partnership of the Association, the district’s grant application will probably be denied.


3 Responses to “District Creates Roadblock in “Race to the Top””

  1. Student Says:

    But if the district gets funding, there wouldn’t need to be any more cuts! And while Vargas likes his shiny new scissors, he has to have an excuse to use them. Rejection of new funding = excuse for more cuts.

  2. theresa Says:

    I don’t think $22 per student is worth it in the first place. Let’s talk some real money and some real partnership.
    The district is scrambling now by giving the old administrators, the very ones who refuse to honor the contract NOW, new titles. It’s an embarassment. KSD should be ashamed of themselves. Our children deserve better.

  3. Student Says:

    We certainly do deserve better. Thank you, theresa. However, that $22 per student is still money that we could have but don’t have. It’s not much, but they add up, like small scholarships. A $500 scholarship wouldn’t send me to college, no. But it would help, just as this grant would help the students of the KSD.

    But Vargas has to have those nice new scissors… and nice new titles… and nice new student support programs… and nice new gilt painted over the same old mentality of shorting everyone else to leave more funding available for administration.

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